Like millions of Americans, Ibby Piracha loves visiting his local Starbucks in Leesburg, Virginia, at least three times per week.
Although he’s a familiar face, Piracha has to type his order on his phone then show the cashier because he’s deaf. That is until one visit when everything changed.
February 19, was like any other day. Piracha drove to his local Starbucks to order his usual, a Caramel Frappuccino.
But as he was about to show the cashier his order, barista Krystal Payne surprised him by greeting Piracha in sign language.
Payne first handed Piracha a note. After the customer read it, he looked up.
“What do you want to drink?” she asked him in sign language.
“I’ve been learning ASL,” the note read, “just so you can have the same experience as everyone else.”
Starbucks reported that Payne studied hours of YouTube videos on her own to expand her basic knowledge of American Sign Language and learn more phrases.
“I was quite impressed,” said Piracha. “I was very inspired that she was very motivated to learn sign on her own.”
“She became more motivated to learn sign because I was customer there and that has really, really touched me.”
Piracha was blown away by her kindness; he shared a photo of the note and about his experience on Facebook.
“The note made me happy. I felt happy that she learned to sign ASL to speak to me. I felt happy that she wrote the note.”
According to Piracha’s GoFundMe page, he was left with hearing loss after contracting a high fever at age 12. His injury also made him partially mute.
By sharing his heartwarming experience on Facebook, Piracha hopes for people to realize that “…the hearing world and the [deaf world] are trying to communicate.”
His post quickly went viral.
“My job is to make sure people have the experience they expect,” said Payne, “and that’s what I gave him.” An experience he’ll not soon forget.
On a personal note:
This story also goes to show how when a company treats its employees well; the customer stands to reap the most benefit.
As someone who’s worked in the service for over 20 years, I don’t have to have stepped foot in Payne’s store to know that she and her colleagues are treated well.
You see, excellent customer service isn’t about paying people more than what’s reasonable; it’s about treating employees with respect and investing in their personal growth.
When companies treat their employees like a budget item expenditures that are easily replaced, that attitude filters into the customer service experience.
But when employees feel valued, respected, and have fun working for your company they pass that spirit on to customers as well.
Companies spend millions on shiny HR employee campaigns, gimmicks, contests, pizza parties, and other fluff designed for quick motivational boosts with no long-term motivational gains.
When it comes to people, the best way to get the best out of them is to build relationships, which takes time, effort, and patience.
Mrs. Payne is a shining example of how that kind of investment pays off big time.
In other words:
Blow-your-socks-off service begins with blow-your-socks-off management.