The Leadership Spirit and the Wow Experience!


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Over 97 percent of American people are well familiar with Starbucks brand. This goes to show that more Americans know the Starbucks name than the name our Vice-president.

Starbucks started out as a single miniscule coffee shop and today has spread its tentacles into 37 countries around the world. Consider these statistics to understand the gigantic growth of Starbucks: the company opens a new store every five hours and five new stores on a daily basis throughout the year. An average customer comes into the store 18 times in a month and exhibits deep brand loyalty.

The Starbucks Experience did not happen overnight. It is the translation and conviction of the company’s leadership, Howard Shultz (a fellow Brooklynite) that “it is people make a business.” The leadership at Starbucks strives to deliver an extraordinary customer experience, right from the moment their customer visits their store to the time they leave the door. Zappos, the online shoe retailer, acquired by in 2010 has Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, Talk about someone that brings the soul to the sole of the shoe business, he is the leader of a culture that makes employees happy, who in turn deliver happiness to their customers (a corporate mission). Hsieh considers himself less of a leader and more of a facilitator for his employees’ success. Personally, I think he’s an “illuminated” servant leader that inspires employees and people that he meets to be authentic.

In both of the examples above, it is obvious that leadership played a crucial role in engendering fierce loyalty in its employees and customers, which hold the brand in high regard. For existing companies and young entrepreneurs looking to make a big difference, here are some key leadership lessons that such customer experience leaders inspire:

• Leaders place their trust in people
• Leaders consider customers not as an interruption to their business but as the purpose for the business
• Leaders are relentlessly customer-focused striving in every way to give the customer what he wants
• Leaders are self-aware, approachable, knowledgeable, innovators, goal-setters and risk-takers. Overall these are people in command of their attitudes.

Leadership qualities are reflected at every level of the organizational rung, from the top management board to team leaders. Recruit senior leadership on the basis of their people skills and not on the sole basis of their knowledge and capability to complete huge volume of tasks fast. You want people that can interact with teams on a daily basis and manage and lead them. As Tony Hsieh puts it, it is important you hire leadership that fit into your culture and one way of doing this is to train and mentor entry-level people of the company for leadership roles. Remember, the leader is the soul of the company, who is not afraid to walk a mile in anyone’s shoes.

This article is based on Keith Fiveson’s upcoming book of the same title, Consciousness and the Customer Experience. In collaboration with the Consciousness Quotient Institute, headquarters in Romania and offices globally, this article is protected by copyright; it can only be reproduced by permission. 2011 © Keith Fiveson – [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | ITESA – customer experience management consulting, for lifetime value. Offices in New York and Manchester, UK. NY offices at 69 Fifth Avenue, Suite 9J, NY,

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Keith Fiveson
A driven communications, customer care, operations, transformation consultant. Helping clients develop people, using convergence based technologies to brand, expand and optimize the customer experience globally.


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