Be nicer to market-stressed Starbucks customers: CEO

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sent an e-mail to ask employees to be nicer to customers. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz has told his staff to be nicer to customers who could be feeling stressed after the global equity rout this week.

In an e-mail to 190,000 retail employees, Mr Schultz said: "Let's be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations."

The message comes after a collapse in China's stock markets reverberated across the globe on Monday, triggering a bloodbath across bourses from Asia to America.

Billions of dollars were wiped off indices across the world on the day dubbed as "Black Monday" after traders indulged in frenetic selling following the Shanghai Composite Index's 8.5 per cent decline, its worst one-day performance since 2007.

EXERCISE EMPATHY

Let's be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations.

STARBUCKS CHIEF EXECUTIVE HOWARD SCHULTZ

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index plunged more than 5 per cent in the United States before recovering later in the week. Starbucks shares also tumbled as much as 20 per cent before recovering, Bloomberg said.

In Tuesday's e-mail with the subject line "Message from Howard: Leading Through Turbulent Times", Mr Schultz explained how the previous day's "market volatility" and recent "political uncertainty both at home and abroad" are sure to lead to increased anxiety for Starbucks customers.

"Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern. Please recognise this and - as you always have - remember that our success is not an entitlement, but something we need to earn, every day," he wrote.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans get their morning dose of caffeine from Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee chain that has more than 22,000 stores in 65 countries.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'Be nicer to market-stressed Starbucks customers: CEO'. Print Edition | Subscribe