Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Re-Experiencing Starbucks: Update 4 – Little Things

Posted by Becky Carroll on March 16, 2008

starbucks-sign-march-medium.jpg Part 4 of the ongoing Starbucks Project with Jay Ehret and myself.  Here is Jay’s fourth installment about getting involved at Starbucks – he is!

Seven Bold Moves 

Recently, Howard Schultz, CEO at Starbucks, sent out his 10th Transformation Agenda, describing to Starbucks partners (employees) the results of a “global summit” of Starbucks leaders.  One of the outcomes was this list of Seven Bold Moves that Starbucks will be making as they re-focus on customers, coffee, and partners:

1.      Be the undisputed coffee authority

2.      Re-engage and inspire our partners

3.      Re-ignite our emotional attachment with customers

4.      Expand our global presence — while making each store the heart of the local neighborhood

5.      Be a leader in ethical sourcing and environmental impact

6.      Create innovative growth platforms worthy of our coffee

7.      Deliver a sustainable economic model

Emotional Attachment

I love the third “bold move”, re-igniting emotional attachment with customers.  I have seen new branding at all Starbucks to make it look more human-inspired and friendly.  Over the coming weeks and months, Jay and I (and others) will be watching and looking for the building of emotional attachment and relationships.

On the Big Biz Show this past week, along with the co-hosts Sully and Russ, I asked listeners whether they had seen any changes at their local Starbucks.  One woman called in to share that the customer service had definitely improved at her Starbucks.  I have also seen improvements along these lines, and in talking to baristas here in San Diego, they said much of the recent training was focused on how to take care of customers.

My husband recently had to wait for Starbucks to brew his decaf coffee, which he didn’t find out until after he had paid.  The barista apologized and gave him a nice card, good for any drink – complimentary.  Although these cards have been around for awhile, I have never seen one handed out.  Perhaps, in the quest for making the perfect drink for customers, Starbucks is encouraging these to be used more frequently (baristas, any comment on that?).

See the Difference

The most telling sign that Starbucks is putting laser focus on the customer experience will be whether we can truly see a difference.  Slowly but surely, I believe I am seeing little things.  What about you?  Have you seen any difference in the Starbucks Experience?  Send me your thoughts to becky at petraconsultinggroup dot com, or leave a comment.  I will catalog the changes in my next Starbucks update.

(Picture credit: me, taken at our local Starbucks – spelling of the word “Caramel” may be intentional…?!)

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4 Responses to “Re-Experiencing Starbucks: Update 4 – Little Things”

  1. Brent Applegate said

    Becky – Really interesting topic! We just did a B-school case in Marketing about Starbucks circa 2002. The focus was especially on difference in perception between long-term and newer Starbucks customers. Be interesting to see how these new steps are received by various customer groups. Cheers!

  2. Thanks, Brent. What did you learn from the 2002 case that might help Starbucks focus on today’s experience? I’d love to hear more…

  3. darren said

    I think that the ‘new’ Starbucks customers have a very fresh new face to look forward to. I wrote about my recent (well, Fall 2007) experience with some of the trends I was noticing in the States and then coming up into Canada. I like the forward-oriented thinking…helps keep a brand revitalized. I live in Vancouver, a HUGE coffee city, so we see a lot.

  4. Darren, thank you for coming over and sharing your experiences with Starbucks. Forward-thinking is wonderful, especially if it is tuned to your customers’ wants and needs. Let’s see where Starbucks goes next!

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