OH NO – NO ICED VENTI CUPS! –Or- Never underestimate your customers’ expectations

Bonny and I went to Starbuck’s drive thru this morning just like we do on way too many other mornings. We ordered our usual two iced venti lattes – one with two raw sugars.

The speaker voice said, ‘Um, we are all out of iced venti clear cups.’

‘Well,’ Bonny said, ‘How about putting them in your hot venti cups instead?’

‘Ok,’ said the speaker voice.

We drove around the building to the window where we chatted with the server and picked up our paper cupped ice lattes.

Back at the office Bonny said, ‘Does your coffee taste awful?’

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I’m transferring it to a clear cup to see if it helps,’ (as mentioned, we go to Starbucks often.)

‘Oh,’ she said as she proceeded to do the same. ‘I wonder if we should add some milk.’

‘No,’ I said taking a drink through the familiar fat green straw. ‘It tastes fine now.’

She took a drink of hers, said, ‘It tastes like it’s supposed to.’

Then she looked at me with a confused expression and I said, ‘I don’t even want to think about it.’

But I couldn’t quit thinking about it. Are we such creatures of habit that two different presentation of iced coffee would actually make it taste differently? Apparently so.

My take away is pretty simple. Customers want consistency. They want to get what they expect to get. In our case, even though we requested the change, the end result wasn’t what we expected. Dissatisfaction ensued.

Was it the lack of fat green straw? Or maybe sipping cold coffee through what should have been a hot coffee cap? Maybe it was because we couldn’t see the happy little ice cubes through the sides of the cup. Whatever it was, it was an eye-opener – and so was the coffee.