One of Starbucks units is an appropriate place for analysis of service encounters. The best time to observe is 4 or 5 p.m. There is no rush, and people (cashiers and customers) often have short chats. However, there are quite a lot of customers. The cashier is a Caucasian girl in her early twenties. She is nice and smiling. She tends to offer uptakes to almost all customers. She seems to have many loyal customers.
The customer is an Asian woman in her late twenties. The woman’s English is perfect, and she seems to be a loyal customer and the one who has developed a certain connection with the cashier. The conversation is very friendly, and both women are involved in it.
- Cashier: So, how was your daughter’s performance?
- Customer: Oh, I loved it. Though Lia confused some words, she managed to save the day. I’m proud of her.
- Cashier: Well, I think you both are looking forward to new performances. Here is your order.
- Customer: Sure we do. Thanks.
The customer is an African American in his late 60s. It seems he has a good and almost friendly relationship with the cahier as there is a certain sense of friendly flirting. The man is smiling, and he seems quite happy.
- Cashier: Have you changed the description?
- Customer: I’m still struggling with Olivia’s appearance. I’m afraid my wife will recognize you.
- Cashier: Then, Olivia should look like your wife. Don’t you think so?
- Customer: I see her all day long. My story is the only place I can see a really beautiful girl.
- Cashier: Thanks for these words, and here’s your order.
A customer is a Caucasian man in his early thirties. He seems to be in a hurry, and he is a bit worried. The conversation is quite short, but it is still friendly as the customer (although he was in a hurry) is eager to respond.
- Cashier: It’s a good choice, sir, you’ll have a lot of energy during your meeting. Is it a big one? You are constantly looking at your watch…
- Customer: Thanks. I don’t have a meeting, but the day is crazy.
- Cashier: Well, here is your order and good luck anyway.
- Customer: Thanks.
The customer is an African American woman in her forties. She is not in a hurry, but she is not very talkative. The conversation is very short, but it is also quite friendly, and it is possible that soon the customer will be more eager to respond to the cashier’s uptakes.
- Cashier: So, you finally decided to try something new… Is it only about coffee? Are there any start-ups?
- Customer: I’ve just decided to follow your advice and try it.
- Cashier: I think you’ll like it. Here is your order.
- Thank you.
In the first two conversations, the cashier and the customer have already developed a certain relationship due to numerous interactions. The customers are loyal, and they know the cashier who has worked there for some time. The cashier remembers key events in her loyal customer’s lives, and she is eager to reveal her support.
In the first conversation, the woman is proud of her child and shares this. In the second conversation, the man is flirting. It is noteworthy that the unit is situated in a place where lots of people are acquainted as they wave to each other and start conversations. Admittedly, it is rather easy to enrich service encounters with some personal details.
Remarkably, Bailey’s research focused on people about different cultural backgrounds. The researcher stressed that there were numerous misunderstandings and even conflicts because of the difference in cultures and mindsets (Bailey 327). In present cases, the customers and the cashier seemed to have similar cultural backgrounds, and they speak the same language.
Any misunderstanding or severe prejudice is almost impossible. Thus, the present encounters can be used as certain evidence of the fact that cultural background plays an important role in service encounters. This also makes it easier to use a more personal approach, as there can be no offensive situations or misunderstanding. People feel free, relaxed, and positive.
Furthermore, the cashier’s personality considerably affects the development of the conversation. In the third and fourth encounters, the cashier is developing a friendly relationship with new customers. The girl is an active agent in the conversation, and the customer does not have to try to invent ways to start the conversation. The customers feel this and eagerly respond to the cashier’s questions (in italics).
In the third conversation, the man is in a hurry, but he eagerly responds, and he can soon come again. In the fourth encounter, the woman seems somewhat reserved, but she responds, and this can be the start of a more friendly relationship. There are uptakes in every conversation, and they are written in bold. The customers are glad to be involved in a more personalized service encounter.
On balance, it is possible to note that lots of factors affect service encounters. Some of the central factors are personal features of the cashier and customer, location, and cultural backgrounds of the people involved. Bailey’s findings are also supported by the present analysis.
Bailey, Benjamin. “Communication of Respect in Interethnic Service Encounters.” Language in Society 26.1 (1997): 327-356. Print.