I was in my local store, which has a Starbucks. When I walked up to the counter, the Starbucks-trained employee was on the phone, and a store manager was at the register. There were no other customers around. The manager acknowledged me and said that it would be just a minute. I overheard the Starbucks employee, who seemed to be having a personal problem and was very involved in her conversation.
I stood there for a couple of minutes with neither employee helping me. Finally, the manager walked off, and the employee realized she would need to assist me. She placed her call on hold and did her best to give me good customer service.
While I first was thinking how poorly I was received, I soon began to think how the manager missed an opportunity to really make the employee feel engaged and valued. She was obviously having a terrible day, and instead of doing his best to help me and give her time to finish her phone conversation, he just left. Better yet, he could have taken her place (or found someone to take her place) so that she could handle the situation off the sales floor. This would have shown the employee that her emergency was important to him as well.