My Account Was Hacked! A Lesson in Customer Service

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I love Starbucks. When taking a road trip, I use Google maps to find the closest location when I need a little pick-me-up. When flying, I seek them out in airports. And while recently strolling down the street in Lima, Peru, I spied that familiar green logo and my husband immediately knew I’d have to stop in for my favorite latté.

First he was sympathetic and apologized profusely, as if he himself had done me wrong. (I immediately felt like I had made a new friend at my favorite brand.)

Then he promised to “make it all right.” There was no questioning me (“Did you give someone else access to your account? Does anyone else have your password? Is it possible you granted access to someone and just forgot?” — The usual bland, accusatory tone that I expected).

He encouraged me to immediately change my password to something stronger. Done.

He then reversed all the charges. Yeah!

He refilled my card to the exact amount BEFORE the hack, and promised to send me a new card immediately. Excellent!

All the while working in a competent but friendly manner, telling me he had never heard of this happening to anyone at Starbucks before. (Thank goodness.)

Net-net, we ended the call with me feeling totally vindicated, confident that my account was now secure once again and knowing that I would continue to be brand loyal.

Now, why can’t all customer service reps be this sympathetic when a customer calls? Why do most of them seem to either:

  • Speak too fast (so I have to ask them to repeat what they said) or too slow (like I’m an idiot)
  • Be totally bored with my problem
  • Distrust that I’m telling the truth
  • Need me to repeat my name, or email address, or mailing address over and over again

While I know that there are plenty of consumers who are trying to “scam” companies (claiming the merchandise was broken when it arrived when they themselves broke it), the motto “the customer is always right” seems like a long-forgotten cliché for many organizations.

So kudos to Starbucks … And to their customer service rep (I think his name was Bob; I pictured him as sort of a 40-something with a beard — like the friendly neighbor who chases your dog down the street when it escapes your yard). I’ll keep visiting your stores and I’ll keep my loyalty card because those “every 10th drink free” isn’t the only incentive for continuing to do business with them.

Author: Carolyn Goodman

A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.

5 thoughts on “My Account Was Hacked! A Lesson in Customer Service”

  1. Now that’s an example of Customer Experience where the “customer is always right” — and, yes, kudos to Starbucks! Not only did the brand recover, but the “gold” in Gold Member was validated. I wonder had you not been a Gold Member would the experience been any different? In any event, the LTV just got one big boost!

  2. I don’t drink Starbucks and sorry to hear about your Starbucks card, but I am impressed with how well you were treated by the representative. My biggest pet peeve are with customer service reps with thick accents in other countries and I have to ask them to repeat everything. Plus they all seem to have the same names of John, Jack, Joe, or Jason.

    1. You’re so right, Laura. Reps with heavy accents, reading from some poorly worded script, doesn’t allow them to really listen to the customer, absorb the problem, and apply the appropriate solution quickly. Starbucks gets 10 gold stars for avoiding THAT issue entirely!

  3. @Carolyn Great post and kudos to Starbucks. With the proliferation of apps, companies need to ensure their apps are secure and do not put customers’ at risk rather than cutting corners on application security in an effort to be first to market. Application security needs to be part of the application development process for customer-centric companies. As marketers, we need to ensure this is happening for our customers or risk damaging our brand.

    1. I’ll admit that my password did NOT contain symbols (just alphas and numerics), but you’re right, application security is a mandatory for all the online retailers who store customer information. This experience made me go back and change my password on every online account I used (tedious, painful work); but I’ve learned my lesson.

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