Re-Experiencing Starbucks: Transformation Starting
Posted by Becky Carroll on February 15, 2008
Part 2 in the ongoing project “Re-Experiencing Starbucks”, with Jay Ehret.
This past Monday, Starbucks issued two “Transformation Agenda Communications” about some of the changes it is making in its effort renew the Starbucks experience. You may have heard about the first one – free WiFi. This is described in Howard Schultz’s communication in this way:
“Over the past couple of weeks, I have spoken with you about our plans to transform our company and to be laser focused on our customers. Today, I am pleased to share with you another action that will enrich the Starbucks Experience through innovation.”
I love the language used here: “be laser-focused on our customers”. Many of you left comments on the last post, which introduced the Starbucks experience project, and mentioned you would like to see free WiFi at Starbucks (Jay also mentioned it in his first Starbucks post). So it seems this is a frequently-requested item at the cafes! This will affect me in this way: it will drive me to go and register my Starbucks Card, as those with Starbucks Cards will get the two free hours of WiFi (the rest of you will pay $3.99 (I believe), which is still less than you would pay now with their current service provider). Look for this in the spring of this year – I will be!
I also like that Mr. Schultz is offering complimentary AT&T WiFi accounts to Starbucks partners (employees) for them to use at the store. This is a great way to help build up partner morale. Remember, taking care of employees helps you take care of customers!
Along those lines, you may not have heard about the second Transformation Agenda Communication: Starbucks will be conducting a company-wide partner training here in the U.S. about espresso.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to transform the company and renew our focus on the customer, we have announced an historic in-store education and training event for our more than 135,000 store partners across the United States. We will close each of our nearly 7,100 company-operated stores in the U.S. on Tuesday, February 26 at 5:30 p.m., local time, to conduct a nationwide hands-on espresso training experience, designed to energize partners and transform the customer experience. Stores with evening hours will re-open at 8:30 p.m.
Our unprecedented level of commitment to and investment in our people will provide them with the tools and resources they need to exceed the expectations of our customers. We believe that this is a bold demonstration of our commitment to our core and a reaffirmation of our coffee leadership.”
Starbucks is focusing on putting its employees front and center in their effort to transform the customer experience. This is wise, as Starbucks partners are the face of the company and help craft the Starbucks experience with each interaction. As I mentioned in my last post, the Starbucks baristas are one of the most positive parts of the current Starbucks experience. I applaud Starbucks for taking time to focus on them.
And I will be in my local Starbucks on February 27 to see what they thought about it!
Be sure to drop over to Jay’s blog and check out his opinions via a video post on acoustics at Starbucks. In the same post, as part of his Power to the Small Business podcast series, Jay was also nice enough to record an interview with me, talking about customer experience, customer service, and of course, the Starbucks project. Thanks, Jay!
(Photo credit: T Carroll)