Yesterday morning, I pulled up to the drive-thru at Starbucks and rolled down the window to order my usual Grande, skinny vanilla latte with one Sweet n Low and powdered cinnamon mixed in. When the barista handed me my drink, it had a green plastic stick with a logo on top in the sip hole.
“What’s this?” I asked the barista.
“It’s a splash stick so your drink doesn’t spurt out while you drive,” she answered.
I was floored. It was like Starbucks was reading my mind! How did they know I have to haphazardly drive with one hand on the steering wheel and the other covering the hole on the cup to prevent the foam from splashing out all over my console every time I hit a bump?
That little stick made my whole morning. I was in such a great mood when I arrived at work that people were probably wondering what I had mixed in with my coffee. I showed off my splash stick like a proud parent showing a photo of their kid.
Later that same day, I came across this article on USA Today’s web site that explained where the idea for that perfect little piece of plastic came from. Turns out, Starbucks has a web site devoted to capturing Customer comments and ideas, www.mystarbucksidea.com.
That stick is what I refer to as an “unexpected delight.” I certainly didn’t expect for the splash stick to turn up in my coffee cup that morning but it made a positive impression on me when it did.
You see, it’s not the plastic that made my day, it’s what that plastic represented. Instead of cursing every time I hit a bump – coffee flying all over the car – trying to drive while mopping it up in rush hour traffic and cursing yet again as I burn my tongue drinking it down to prevent another spill, I enjoyed a leisurely drive in, singing to the radio and sipping my cooled down coffee. Simple yet impactful.
At Southwest, I think our Employees do a great job of serving up those unexpected delights on a daily basis. Whether it’s just a friendly smile, a funny joke, or free soft drinks and snacks in-flight, we want every Customer to walk away with the same feeling I got from that stick. At Southwest, we understand the little things add up to memorable moments and we promise to continue to look for ways to delight you unexpectedly every time you fly with us.