Customer retention is easier when your customers are happy. It’s a whole different story when things don’t go as planned. During the summer, I frequented the same SODO Starbucks everyday after work. Without fail, the baristas there would make a mistake on my simple order AT LEAST once a week. Last August, it happened four time in the same week, and I’d had enough. I called the location to complain and was offered a free-drink coupon. The same coupon I had piles of in the glove compartment due to all the previous mistakes. This time would be different. I politely declined the coupon, asking to instead speak to a manager. After sharing my concerns with the manager, I hung up – feeling that at least my voice was heard. My plan was to share the story on Facebook later that day, but my plans were dashed when I received a call from Starbucks corporate within the hour. A manager in the Retention & Referral department called me directly to listen to my concerns, and share that my troubles weren’t unique. They had already decided to take action to replace the store management, and assured me that future experiences would be different. She then shared her personal contact information, including cell-phone number, and asked that I contact her directly should I experience any issues.
The effort to go above and beyond, and to put the experience of the customer first, is what appeals to me about Starbucks. This, in addition to their industry leading loyalty program, is what sets Starbucks apart in the commoditized coffee industry.