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Starbucks asks baristas to be sensitive to customers as market plunges

August 25, 2015, 9:16 AM UTC
Photograph by Stephen Chernin — Getty Images

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By Sarah Begley @SCBegley

The CEO of Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) asked his employees to be especially sensitive to customers because of the stress they may be feeling over the plunging stock market.

In an email to his 190,000 employees, Howard Schultz wrote, “Today’s financial market volatility, combined with great political uncertainty both at home and abroad, will undoubtedly have an effect on consumer confidence and perhaps even our customers’ attitudes and behavior. Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern…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.”

Schultz has made a reputation for himself as a CEO who cares, emphasizing his commitment to improving society and launching initiatives to accomplish this goal—including the “Race Together” campaign that asked baristas to write that phrase on cups and discuss America’s racial issues with customers, a move that some criticized as tone-deaf.

“I can assure you that we will continue to lead and manage the company through the lens of humanity” Schultz wrote in his email on the market, “doing everything we possibly can to continue to make your families proud of our company and all we stand for.”