Starbucks… or how to turn ordinary customer experience into extraordinary!

Jean-Francois Marquis    February 11, 2016

Starbucks is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Founded in 1971 in Seattle, WA (USA), the brand has built a strong reputation worldwide since its debut. With nearly 23,500 stores around the globe, the American coffee corporation has expanded its brand with specialty coffees, an increasing market since the late 1980s.

Whether you are more of a frappuccino, espresso or latté kind of consumer, the brand carefully listens to its customers and constantly develops new products to make us want another cup of that black elixir. There is a product for everyone at Starbucks, and the company makes sure we are aware of it… With millions of dollars invested in publicity, its best brand ambassadors are still its loyal fan base.

Everyone knows the in-store customer experience is pleasant with nice decor, good smell, attractive food displays… now let’s take a look at how the coffee company is extending the experience online by engaging with its customers.

Customer service, every step of the way…

With a strong brand presence on social media, the company does not hesitate to engage directly with customers. The company interact with its clients on social media every day. They answer all questions, whether it is to provide nutritional product information or to advise you of the nearest location, you will find their social media very responsive to your needs… and if you’re lucky, they might even wish you a happy birthday!

Understanding how to build good customer engagement on social media can be hard for many corporations and Starbucks has proven to be leading the way. Have you heard of ‘My Starbucks Idea’? This website is pure customer engagement. The website is designed to receive product ideas from its clients. Then the customers are asked to share, discuss and vote for their favorite products!  Have YOU voted?

It’s all about the apps, isn’t it?

The coffee company launched the Starbucks Coffee Passport, an app that was exclusively available to their coffee baristas. The app is now available for all coffee lovers, from California to Japan! Tell them what type of coffee you like by roast, region or by strength and Starbucks will tell you which coffee you should have. With this app, you will now know your coffee as much as you know your wine. They even tell you with which food to pair the coffee! Now, that’s customer service!

With its main app, Starbucks has launched a new feature you might have heard of… #MobileOrderAndPay! Not in your coffee shop yet? No problem, order online and skip the line! Using technology and making you feel V.I.P. definitely is a winning strategy for engaging with the customers.

Will you marry me (at Starbucks)?

Believe it or not… some Starbucks lovers out there even get married in their favorite coffee shop! You might have seen #StarbucksWedding on Twitter on Instagram. The coffee chain loves its customers so much, it is inviting them to get married ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health’ around a Triple Venti Soy No Foam Latté!

Real People. Real Weddings. Real Coffee!

To learn more about the topic, listen to Dr. Michelli’s audio clip, author of The Starbucks Experience:

Lessons for Others

Making some research on customer engagement on social media using Starbucks as example has been a real learning experience. We can truly categorize Starbucks as a leader in how to engage with its customers.

The recipe for success might be easier than we think. The company showed that it wasn’t just brewing coffee, it is also generating ideas. The ideas are not that far. What if the customers had these ideas? What if the success what to implement what the clients really wanted?

Learned from Starbucks: Listen to your customers. Just listen. Your faithful and esteemed clients will guide you in the right direction to please them, to become who they want you to be. Acknowledge your customers’ wishes, and see how you can implement their ideas, and turn them into dollar signs.

Learned from Starbucks: Embrace the trends. Just embrace it. Going with the flow can be hard for big corporations. Adopt a test and learn attitude, and don’t be shy to make mistakes. Watch for the new social media trends out there, and see what fits for your needs.

Learned from Starbucks: Info kept for employees can also benefit your clientele. Share your passion, share your expertise and share who your brand really is with your followers.

In any case, interact with your customers, and please, please… don’t ignore them, this hurts more than it do good to your brand. Be transparent and show you care as much as your customers care.

Starbucks… leading the way, one coffee bean at the time.

Organization: Starbucks
Industry: Coffee Brewing Company
Name of Organization Contact: Brady Brewer, Sr Vice President, Marketing, Category & Brand Management

Authored by: Jean-Francois Marquis

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