Beyond Starbucks: How Racism Shapes Customer Service

Following the Starbucks incident, in which a barista called 911 because two African American men were waiting in the store, researchers Alexandra C. Feldberg and Tami Kim report their findings about discrimination in customer service in the hospitality industry.  Beyond the kind training against racial bias that Starbucks is planning, Feldberg and Kim make the following recommendations: 1) “make structural changes. . . . standardize scripts and provide employees with specific protocols [to] institutionalize norms of behavior for employees when they interact with customers.”  2) “To detect bias in [service] behaviors requires quantifying different aspects of customer service and comparing treatment quality across a range of customers.”  Read the complete essay by clicking here.

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