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When Is Poor Customer Service Positive?

There really is no such thing as bad publicity.

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A woman named Rachel walks into Starbucks for her morning cup of coffee and the barista asks for her name. Shortly after, the customer receives her order and reads what is scribbled on her to-go cup with a look of shock and amusement. "Raychil"... seriously?

Sound familiar? Turns out these baristas aren't atrocious spellers. Some conspiracy theorists believe that Starbucks employees spell customers' names wrong on purpose - "Air-Inn," "Pawl," "Marbra" - in hopes that they'll post a picture on social media for some shameless free advertising. And you know who else is featured in that million-dollar photo of a customer's cup? That iconic green siren. This low-tech marketing not only gives the company name exposure, but it may also incline people to go to Starbucks just to see how the baristas may interpret their name. If this theory is true, it might be a genius marketing move and it doesn't cost Starbucks a dime. Try to scroll through your morning feed without seeing one of these comical posts. It's nearly impossible! There are blogs, Tumblrs, and Instagram accounts dedicated to this very occurrence. Everyone's had it happen - and sometimes a shot of laughter is just as potent as a shot of caffeine to get you going in the morning.

An organic experience digitally shared - this is a teachable moment for marketing and public relations. There are times when accidental viral can provide a surprise complement to proven marketing methodologies. Less savvy corporations might try to squash their employee's spelling errors. Smart companies learn to embrace how they're experienced by others and change only as change is needed. This is how brands grow up and learn to live lives of their own.

Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong

23 hilariously misspelled names on Starbucks coffee cups

starbucks spelling: A collection of misspelled names from the inventors of the "Frappuccino."

Starbucks Name Fail

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