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The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Michelli

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From Publishers Weekly

In this paean to "one of the truly exceptional American success stories," Michelli convinces the reader that Starbucks is a great company, but he stumbles when trying to extract "precepts that can enhance your business and your personal life." He explores the various levels on which Starbucks succeeds, from its generous HR policies and lively work environment to its attention to detail and genuine concern for social causes—all of which highlight how singular a company it is. (Michelli throws in the word "unique" as often as twice a sentence.) But when it comes to advice for businesspeople, his "simple, yet not simplistic" tenets are too vague to be very helpful. Michelli notes that he has no personal stake in Starbucks: "I am not here to sell you on the company." But his enthused exclamations—"It is difficult to imagine all the great things that are yet to come for Starbucks"—give The Starbucks Experience the ring of an authorized book. Still, the company's practices are undeniably innovative and inspiring, and even if most of them aren't directly relevant, there's surely something in this book that's applicable to most businesses. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



You already know the Starbucks story. Since 1992, its stock has risen a staggering 5,000 percent! The genius of Starbucks success lies in its ability to create personalized customer experiences, stimulate business growth, generate profits, energize employees, and secure customer loyalty-all at the same time.

The Starbucks Experience contains a robust blend of home-brewed ingenuity and people-driven philosophies that have made Starbucks one of the world's "most admired" companies, according to Fortune magazine. With unique access to Starbucks personnel and resources, Joseph Michelli discovered that the success of Starbucks is driven by the people who work there-the "partners"-and the special experience they create for each customer. Michelli reveals how you can follow the Starbucks way to

  • Reach out to entire communities
  • Listen to individual workers and consumers
  • Seize growth opportunities in every market
  • Custom-design a truly satisfying experience that benefits everyone

  • involved

Filled with real-life insider stories, eye-opening anecdotes, and solid step-by-step strategies, this fascinating book takes you deep inside one of the most talked-about companies in the world today.

For anyone who wants to learn from the best-and be the best-The Starbucks Experience is a rich, heady brew of unforgettable user-friendly ideas.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.0 von 5 Sternen  106 Rezensionen
53 von 64 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Starbucks is to coffee what High Definition TV is to black and white - There's No Comparison - A GREAT BOOK!!!! 2. April 2007
Von Richard of Connecticut - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Management consultant Joseph Michelli spent two years of his life trying to figure out what makes Starbucks such a successful operation. Remember, Howard Shultz the founder of Starbucks took essentially an ordinary cup of coffee. Prior to him, it was sold daily in some of the seediest places on the planet (still is). He elevated it into an art form, presented in a European style environment, and sold it repetitively day in and day out for 4 to 7 times what you pay somewhere else for it.


It's one of those stories where you say to yourself, this was a NATURAL. Why didn't someone think about doing this? Home Depot, McDonald's, Duncan Donuts, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, all of these operations were naturals, so natural in fact that you would think that someone else would have thought of doing it first.

Starbucks is in a class by itself

Had you invested $10,000 in the Starbucks IPO in 1992, you would be sitting on $650,000 today. If you had been one of the 100 employees with the company in 1987, and had you stayed with them, you would be looking at 100,000 fellow employees today. Who else has had growth like this?

How do you replicate the customer experience every day successfully among 11,000 stores? How do you do it in such a way, that if a customer travels from NYC to Miami, to Detroit, and then on to Chicago, and LA, and into San Diego, you can count on CONSISTENCY in each Starbucks that you would enter?

This is such an extraordinarily difficult thing to do, that you will immediately realize how many other great companies including Home Depot along the way, have STUMBLED, when it came to maintaining that unique CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. This wonderful little book answers all of these questions and more, in less than 200 delightful pages to read. There's more wisdom here than you realize upon first reading Michelli's

work. Here's more of what you will learn. There are five critical sections to the book. The author has named them Principles 1 through 5. Each is a separate chapter in the book. They are:


The people who work in the stores, who do the everyday work you see are called PARTNERS, not workers, not employees. The objective is to get a lower level associate functioning in an entrepreneurial fashion. Somehow Starbucks gets it done. Basically, each partner is asked to conduct himself in accordance with what the company calls the "FIVE WAYS OF BEING".

A) Be Welcoming

B) Be Genuine

C) Be Considerate

D) Be Knowledgeable

E) Be Involved


There are two fabulous quotes that are used in this section. We should all memorize them:

A) Retail is Detail

B) All Business is Detail

I was floored by these quotes. When you think about it, Starbucks is completely right. You have to get those DETAILS right. If you do that, the mosaic that you are trying to create between store, coffee and customer - it all comes together.


It might be opening a store an hour early because you see a customer standing outside. Perhaps you had 10 regular customers from the library across the street, and now the library has moved. You run the Starbucks, so what do you do, you visit the new Starbucks where the library moved, and you introduce your old customers to the new Starbucks. Who does this type of thing; what business has such people affiliated with it? The answer is Starbucks. Somehow this company has managed to create these types of dedicated professionals.


Most companies seem to fight off criticism or complaints - not Starbucks. They look upon criticism as an opportunity to learn from the person doing the criticizing. A case in point is a high level Starbucks executive calling up a person who did a radio show flailing against what he viewed as a lack of consistency in the coffee and service at his local Starbucks. The company embraced the criticism as an opportunity to learn on a company-wide basis. This is very unusual to say the least.


It's right in the company's mission statement. The company will "contribute positively to our communities, and our environment." From buying environmentally friendly products to constantly worrying about developing a reputation for integrity, Starbucks takes what it does seriously. This is reflected in every nuance of the customer experience.

Is this the only major company in America that gives health-care benefits to all employees who work 20 hours a week or more? I think so. Most companies could care less about the living and working conditions of the overseas companies that it buys from. Starbucks couldn't care MORE.

In fact, they pay an average of $1.26 more per pound of coffee than their competitors, to insure that their foreign business partners treat their employees better that what is normal country practice. This includes looking at the books of their providers to insure that the wealth trickles down all the way to the guy picking the coffee beans.


If you are a student of management than this is a company you need to study. If you are an investor, you have to think about why you are investing in arcane, esoteric companies you don't understand, when companies like Starbucks are right under your nose, and you visit them every day. What's going on here? Who's driving the bus?

Read "The Starbucks Experience". It will give a whole new meaning to your leisure time activities. You will learn that this company is a whole lot more than just a cup of fresh, wholesome, good tasting coffee. See you at Starbucks.

Richard Stoyeck
39 von 47 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The half-caf business book 3. Januar 2007
Von Andrew S. Rogers - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Starbucks has many detractors -- people who object to its business model, the way it prepares its beans, or simply its ubiquity. And though they don't seem to have shown up in the reviews here yet, I'm sure there are readers who may object to this book because it offers a relentlessly positive look at the coffee giant. It's important to understand that "The Starbucks Experience" is not, and is not meant to be, an "exposé" of Big Coffee. People seeking that should look elsewhere.

(I probably should mention here that although I live in Seattle, I don't work for Starbucks. I am, however, a fan of theirs.)

What "The Starbucks Experience" is, is a very interesting inside look at the approach to business that has made Starbucks not only a commercial, but also a cultural, phenomenon. As William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre explained in their recent and important book "Mavericks at Work," Starbucks is an exemplar of the values-driven business model that will set apart the next generation of business leaders. Joseph Michelli has taken us deeper inside that business model and pointed out some important ways that all of us, whatever our job or station in life, can adopt and adapt "the Starbucks experience" for our own uses.

I call this a "half-caf" business book because unlike many other writers in this genre, Michelli doesn't pound away at "life applications" or "key learnings" (awful phrase). Much of the book, in fact, is pretty straightforward storytelling with some "Ideas to Sip On" at the end of each chapter. It's up to the reader to decide how much of this is relevant and useful, and what the important lessons may be.

I think the attentive reader will come away with many worthwhile ideas. We're not all in a position to shape corporate policy, but one of the powerful truths Starbucks teaches is that everyone can have a big -- even a defining -- impact on a customer's experience of your product or service. You don't have to be a Starbucks fan to get a mental caffeine-buzz off an idea like that.
23 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Motivational and instructive, the non-fat grande latte way 19. Oktober 2006
Von R S Cobblestone - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Pike Fish Market in Seattle is an entertaining place. According to the motivational video "Fish!", there are lessons to be learned from how they operate their business.

A long time ago, far, far away, the Pike Fish Market was the neighbor to... Starbucks, the early version.

I can envision the energy in the Pike Fish Market influencing the Starbuck philosophy. I don't know if that really happened, but Starbucks IS the coffee equivalent of that fish throwing, shouting, and entertaining place.

Or, according to Joseph Michelli, it should be.

There are almost as many "Principles for Success" books written by the Fortune 500 as there are Fortune 500 (guess a number here). Why is this one anything special?

I'd say this book reads not as a pat on their own back, and not as a book written for MBA students. There is a level of energy, the Pike Fish Market-type energy, throughout. The principles are:

* Make it Your Own
* Everything Matters
* Surprise and Delight
* Embrace Resistance
* Leave Your Mark

These translate into customer friendly, employee empowering, creativity rewarding, and relationship forming principles. The energy comes top-down AND bottom-up.

This book is worthy of a second reading after the first. Let the concepts sink in, and see how they apply to the world. Then read again. Pick and choose what may work for you. Do you "see" REI? Costco? Powell's Books?

This well-written book is worthy of a look-see.
11 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A great reminder on the importance of customer impact and corporate social responsibility 5. November 2006
Von C. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
At first, I thought this book was going to be one big ad for Starbucks and maybe it is, but it's also interesting to know what a corporation that could be seen as a moneygrubbing, luxury retailer is doing right.

Beyond the tips on how to connect with your customer and how to sell your product is insight on what Starbucks does behind the scenes. For example, they make it a point to know what their coffee suppliers are paying their coffee pickers or how much pesticide is used, etc. to 'work with coffee farmers to ensure (a) high-quality product and promote equitable relationships with farmers, workers, communities, as well as protect the environment'. They work with socially-conscious groups for everything from water sanitation in third world countries to tutoring local kids. And of course, they're also trying to make a difference at home base by simply reacting to customer concerns quickly (e.g. putting a changetable in the washroom, personally going out to buy a coat hook for a regular customer).

One thing I loved were a lot of stories dealing with how partners (i.e. the person serving you your morning scone, baristas) take ownership of situations and devote their own time/money to customer experience. You have to be doing something right when you can make someone recognize that his/her job is not just a job.

Lastly, I liked how this book wasn't just about horn tooting. Sometimes Starbucks failed. Maybe they wanted to open a store in an area that was unwelcoming and couldn't warm up the community. Maybe their new drink wasn't well-received and had to be discontinued. And no, they don't always connect with the customer and they're not always consistent with quality. They recognize there have been different problems and experiences and not every customer leaves with a hug and smile.

All in all, this is a great book to talk about corporate practices that enable progression of your core business by not just focusing on the benjamins.
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen GREAT if you are a Starbucks "Partner" 18. August 2010
Von Eugene I. Kim - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I have learned a lot about the "wonderful" Starbucks customer service from this book, but I have to agree with the other negative reviews on this book. This book really is a customer service manual for Starbucks cashiers and drink mixers, or as the book euphemistically calls them, "Partners" and "Baristas."

The biggest surprise I got from reading this book is how Starbucks wonderfully treats the lowest ranking employees very well in terms of pay, benefits, and bonuses. The book explains how Starbucks management listens to even the lowest level employees to improve quality of service. However, that really should not come as a big surprise to any serious employer. Importance of listening to and investing in your employees should be common sense if you want to be successful as a team.

The entire book rants constantly about how a wonderful Partner or Barista at Starbucks did something wonderful to a customer, from start to finish. It's dry and linear. Perhaps I'm disappointed because I read a better book on Starbucks. Excellent customer service alone does not explain tremendous success of a business. You will find no insightful analysis on the subject as you would in more informative books, like, for example "Starbucked by Taylor Clark." So if that's what you are expecting, this is the wrong book for you. However, if you want a million "inspiring" customer service stories to tell your employees and make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside, then this is the greatest book for it.
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