Customer Service Insights: Cardboard with Your Coffee?

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Customer Service Insights: Cardboard with that Coffee


Recently I was dared by a friend to eat a piece of cardboard. Let’s not get into the reasons why, but instead of being sensible and declining, I accepted the challenge.

Only one problem: no cardboard in sight. So I did what any sane woman would do. At the order menu of my local drive-through Starbucks, I asked for cardboard with my favorite drink.

“Hi, can I take your order?”

“Hi there, you have cold brew, right?”

“We sure do. Would you like to make that a trenta?”

“Oh no—that might …”

“Keep you up for days?”

“Yes, and make me crazy! How about a grande, and a coffee sleeve to go?”

There must have been something about the way I said it.

“A coffee sleeve? An extra coffee sleeve?”

“Yep! I was dared to eat a piece of cardboard, but I don’t really have any … cardboard. No cardboard.”

She laughed. “I can definitely help you out with some cardboard, and will have that ready, with your drink, to go at the window!”

Yes, strange. But when I pulled up at the window, the barista had my cold brew ready, along with a flat coffee sleeve. We shared a few laughs and I drove away with a big old smile on my face, full of appreciation that she’d indulged me, and inspired to pass on the same level of friendly service.

I’ll leave you with this very simple customer-service truism: A positive interaction between a customer and a customer service representative has the power to create true, heartfelt joy and transform your day. And yes, I did swallow that cardboard. Gulp.