Are You Ready For A Video Barista?

Starbucks-SignThe other day my family and I visited the happiest place on earth–Starbucks.  You thought I was going to say Disneyland, didn’t you?  On this particular occasion we opted for the drive thru.

As I pulled up to the microphone to place my order, I found that I was face to face with my barista.  The barista was actually on the screen and could see me via webcam.  Now, it’s well chronicled that I turn into an eight-year-old when a webcam is present and this was no exception.

The moment I realized I was staring at my barista, I giggled and then froze up.  I was so thrown off by the fact that I could see the person taking my order that I nearly forgot my order.  Raise your hand if you have A) encountered this at a Starbucks and B) had the same reaction.

I’ve heard of other companies like Amazon giving customers the ability to see the customer service representative from within an app on their Kindle.  Is that really a next great thing in customer service?  If you’re reading this, I would love to hear your opinion.  Here’s the question I pose to you:

Is video the next great thing in customer service that us customer service leaders need to pay attention to, or is it the next great fad–here today and gone tomorrow?


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  • Personally I think it’s here to stay – but it shouldn’t be at the expense of existing service channels.

    I think Amazon have got it right with their ‘May Day” function as it’s customer driven; it’s the customer’s choice to use it – that is it’s not forced upon them.

    • Jeremy Watkin

      Thanks for the comment, Jase! I guess I had better try that May Day function out and see how it works.

  • Putting us one personal step closer to our coffee. Video drive thru…welcome to 2015!

  • Jeremy – you’ve scooped me! I am working on a blog post on video for my Inside #Custserv blog. I met Jim Keller from Vee24 at ICMI whose company provides a platform for live video assistance. In certain applications, it has the promise to deliver higher levels of satisfaction.

    • Jeremy Watkin

      Hey Jeff, I don’t even feel bad. I know you’re going to come in with some fantastic research that will tell whether or not this video will be successful in the future. I would love to do a hangout sometime to discuss further!

  • Jeremy,

    We have gotten so far away from the personalization of service that seeing the person on video, even if it’s a little creepy, is better than what we have becoming accustomed to. Thanks.

  • Pingback: Are You Ready For A Video Barista? Part 2 | Communicate Better Blog

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