Oh for Peet’s sake, NOT my Starbucks!

August 1, 2008 at 9:29 pm 3 comments

Anyone that knows me professionally understands that there are three critial components to my business success that I am truly passionate about:

1. My customer

2. My candidate

3. My morning Starbucks Venti Latte

So, you can imagine the heartbreak when I heard the news… 

600 planned Starbucks closures!!!!!

“In January, we committed to transforming the company through a series of critical and strategic initiatives to improve the current state of our U.S. business and build the business for the long term,” stated Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO.

What???

In shock I googled for more….  

I read:

“Howard D. Schultz, has retaken the reins in an effort to revive it. Mr. Schultz said he wants to refocus on the ‘customer experience,’ recapturing some of the magic of the chain’s early years, when employees — who had heard the term barista before Starbucks came along? — made the drinks by hand and customers were excited by top-notch coffee.”

“Customer experience” stood out in my mind.

Companies don’t talk as much about the “customer experience” lately.  Profits, profit margins, revenue, cost cuts, consolidations seem to be foremost on agendas… not many are talking about the “customer experience”. 

During a visit to “my” Starbucks, I asked the barista about the status of the store.  I was assured that this would not affect this location.  Relieved that my “customer experience” would be okay, but it got me thinking about it about what the “customer experience” really means.

I came from the school of  “the customer is always right.  And when the customer is wrong, the customer is always right.”  Customer satisfaction has always been a key part of my business success.

Years ago, I worked for a not so typical software services company. The most remarkable thing about the company was it’s leader Berni Jubb.

Berni Jubb insisted on the importance of “breaking a rule in order to make the customer happy.”  Customer satisfaction was #1 in his business vision regardless of what the rules told us employees to do. 

Berni Jubb currently owns the Pura Vida hotel in Costa Rica.  His little hotel is almost always full year round. If you ask his employees they will all tell you that he insists they do whatever it takes to ensure a happy customer.  Even breaking the rules.  

Berni Jubb’s staff is mystified by his demand, but this “customer experience”  shows with Pura Vida’s consisten and thriving clientele.

So tell me, what does the “customer experience” mean to you?  Is it an important part of the way you run your business?

I’d love to hear….

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nancy Babyak  |  August 2, 2008 at 12:52 am

    Here in the greater Seattle area “customer experience” means that the barista ‘pulls’ the shot by hand and has control over the settings on the machine… many many people I know here speak in dark tones about the evil automation that ruined the taste and sent them looking for a better grind in the morning.

    To try to rebuild the customer trust they are running a wonderful afternoon ‘deal’ either clip the coupon from the paper… or purchase a full prices drink of any kind before 11 am… and you can come back after 2 pm and get a Grande Iced beverage (latte, frap or Vivianno even) for only $2… any milk / soy… any flavor(s)… 2 bucks.

    So at least here in the home of the ‘bucks… they seem to be trying to improve the experience a couple of quarters at a time.

    Reply
  • 2. Brenda  |  August 2, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Hey, I appreciate your point of view, great blog!
    Thanks Brendas-e-zine.com

    Reply
  • 3. nearlynormalized  |  August 3, 2008 at 12:19 am

    I was wondering when it was going to happen. How does one make sense of a Starbucks on every other corner? It was looking like an expensive 7-11. Greed, again does it. How about a few and to be great, instead of many and mediocre.. Peets is the best in the long run…Flavor, quality and kindness and great coffee.

    Reply

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