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STARBUCKS RUSSIA
BRAND POWER VS. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
CUSTOMER JOURNEY
As many companies, Starbucks interacts with customer base via the great amount of touch points. These touch points can be broken down into 4 phases, on which you:
Enter Starbucks cafe and get greeted
Wait in the queue, make an order, pay and wait for the drink
Spend some time in the cafe and leave it
Sign up for Starbucks Rewards program, visit again and provide feedback
Each of these stages has elements which could be enhanced.
1. QUEUE
EXPECTATION
Starbucks is currently located in higher price segment – clients can pay similar amount of money in Coffeemania (where coffee is served by waiters). So, even if Starbucks operates a self-service model, clients expect at least operational efficiency from Starbucks when placing an order and waiting for coffee
REALITY
Virtually in all 10 Starbucks cafes which I've visited during the last week, I had to wait in a queue of 3-4 people
WHAT TO DO?
Add pre-order functionality in the app: you choose a cafe, product, arrival time and pay directly in the app. This would help customers who have the app installed, not to wait in the payment queue, as well as for the drink. It would also reduce queue waiting time for people who order in a standard way
2. ORDER personalization
EXPECTATION
We live in a digital age, and certain companies know about us more than we do. Therefore service personalization and knowledge of customer preferences become the new standard
REALITY
Even if clients have Starbucks Rewards card, every time they are asked about their name. Staff do not have customer details displayed on screens: client name, most frequent purchases, etc.
    WHAT TO DO?
    Integrate Starbucks Russia app details with payment platforms and enable the following process:
    • When ordering, Starbucks Rewards member first provides their loyalty card
    • Customer details and preferences get displayed in front of barista
    • In this case, barista will be able to approach a customer in a personalized way and say, based on the data: «Hi Victoria, would you like your favorite Caramel Macchiato or try something new?»
      3. CLEANLINESS
      EXPECTATION
      I believe it's evident that clieanliness is one of the main requirements for cafes
      REALITY
      • Music and warm light in the main area will not save you from customer dissatisfaction if the trash can in the restroom is full (Starbucks "4 winds"), there is a large puddle of some liquid near the toilet which prevents you from even making a step inside ("6, Gasheka st."), and the smell does not let you in (Starbucks "White Square"). I've checked it on Jun-10, but have been facing it for years
      • Tables do not get cleaned for at least 10-15 minutes (Hotel "Moscow", Jun-09)
      • There are spots from drinks on the furniture
        WHAT TO DO?
        • Increase cleaning frequency in restrooms; monitor this with checklists: mirror, floor, toilet, sink, door handle, paper availability. Introduce air fragrance in restrooms
        • At any point in time, there should be a team member who is personally responsible for cleanliness in the main area (removing dishes/empty glasses ASAP after customers have left)
        • Run weekly ckecks of furniture quality and order express-cleaning if there are coffee spots on sofas
            4. PRODUCT PRICING
            EXPECTATION
            At least within the scope of one city, it is expected that coffee price is the same across all cafes
            REALITY
            If you visit Starbucks "White Square" cafe, then take Aeroexpress train to Sheremetievo airport and visit Starbucks cafe there, you will notice that the price is approximately 15% higher than that in the city, and you will have to pay 44 rubles more on average for the same cup of coffee
            WHAT TO DO?
            If there is an extra markup and clients notice it, this should be justified. As an idea, you could justify it with premium service quality: "The best barista of Starbucks work in Sheremetievo airport"
            5. HI - GOOD BYE!
            EXPECTATION
            If a client has been greeted by the staff, the expectation is that someone says "Good bye!" when they leave
            REALITY
            In 8 out of 10 cafes visited by me and friends on 10-Jun, no one from the staff said anything. The leave timing has deliberately been selected to ensure that staff are not overloaded with other orders
            WHAT TO DO?
            Introduce it as part of service process, similar to greeting:
            saying "Goodbye, see you soon!" to customers who are leaving the cafe
            6. SUPPORT CHANNELS
            EXPECTATION
            Clients should be able to contact Starbucks via the channels which they are comfortable with, and switch the channels with ease, while Customer Support response time should match ever-growing requirements
            REALITY
            • There are only 2 official support channels – email and phone
            • Support via Whatsapp / Viber / Facebook messenger / Starbucks App is not availaible
            • I have not got any response via Starbucks Facebook page
            • Responses to my requests via Vkontakte and email have been received only on the next day
              WHAT TO DO?
              • Establish and promote support channels via messengers and social networks
              • Subscribe for one of services which enable customer support team to merge chats from all messengers and social networks in a single interface (e.g. Textback.ru)
              • Set up request response targets for customer support via social media / messengers
                7. PHONE SUPPORT
                EXPECTATION
                When customers contact the company, they not only expect that their query will get resolved, but also that they will speak to a representative of this company
                REALITY
                • When calling to Starbucks Customer Support (+7 499 270 40 40), clients first have to choose the company they need: MotherCare, Starbucks, Body Shop, etc.
                • Customer support representative openly mentioned that they receive customer support requests from many brands
                Should your clients know about this?
                WHAT TO DO?
                • Agree with customer service provider to get a unique phone number, so that Starbucks clients were not asked about the brand they need to contact if they have already dialed-in via Starbucks phone number
                • There also a better option: start promoting toll-free direct number 8 800 222 75 60, which, for some reason, is not placed virtually anywhere
                • Prohibit customer support specialists from mentioning that clients are speaking to representatives of another company
                8. FEEDBACK MANAGEMENT
                EXPECTATION
                For service companies, it is quite important to monitor real-time satisfaction levels, and clients can help with it. Feedback should though be facilitated/prompted, and should not take significant efforts / time spent on client side
                REALITY
                • Starbucks receives feedback only if clients decide to do it on their own. If a client is dissatisfied, it is highly probable that Starbucks will not be aware about it
                • In Starbucks app, I've submitted negative feedback with the lowest rating and added a question in comments – no one got back to me
                  WHAT TO DO?
                  • Enhance Starbucks Russia app functionality for clients to receive push-notifications with request to rate their experience after they have visited a cafe and made an order
                  • Arrange daily check of incoming requests
                  • Give a call-back to clients who have submitted negative feedback, do investigation and follow-up on results/enhancements
                  • Give a call-back to clients who have submitted positive feedback, just to thank them and highlight the importance of their comments – this will boost customer loyalty
                  • Automate the monitoring of feedback from social networks / feedback websites and follow-up on constructive comments to improve visibility of your actions
                  • Going forward, you can also design the approach which would encourage customers to provide constructive feedback and share ideas for further service enhancement
                    9. MOBILE APP
                    EXPECTATION
                    Mobile app should not have any bugs, provide users with rich functionality and show correct data
                    REALITY
                    The app has low rating: 2 / 5 on Appstore/Google Play, which reduces the chance of app being installed. What could cause this?
                    • Description of Starbucks Rewards program starts with empty page
                    • When searching for cafes and applying filters, the app shows that there are only 2 cafes with wifi and no cafes which accept cards (which is wrong)
                    • In the news, pictures load immediately while the text loads with delay
                    • When users try to connect a bank card, "+" button and the text "New Card" do not work, as expected. Instead, users have to click another light-gray button "Top up the balance" (which is not quite obvious)
                    • When paying via the app, users need to re-enter their contact details in the payment platform
                    • If autopayment option is selected in the payment platform, clients are offered to pay until 01-Jan-3000
                      WHAT TO DO?
                      • Fix bugs in the interface
                      • Introduce pre-order and auto-feedback functionality (see above)
                      • Ensure that when customers try to pay via the app, their details get automatically populated in the fields required by payment platform
                      • Once the enhancements go live, start a campaign encouraging users to rate the app / at least, order artificial app rating enhancement from specialized firms (which is obviously not the best alternative)
                        10. LOYALTY PROGRAM
                        EXPECTATION
                        Multi-level loyalty program should be thought-through in details, especially in relation to factors prompting customers to purchase more and move from one status to another
                        REALITY
                        • Getting extra "star" in the loyalty program is based on # of purchases, rather than on the total amount of purchases (in rub): if a customer decides to buy 2 cups of coffee and 2 deserts, they either have to break this purchase into 4 separate purchases and get 4 stars, or enjoy just 1 star for 1 purchase
                        • For the new member, the difference between levels is not quite significant: 1 extra drink per year (for birthday) and new card design. The difference between Special Offers on green level and Exclusive Offers on gold level is not clear
                        • It is great that Starbucks provides program members with unexpected gifts. However, if a client has not set up email/SMS notifications, they do not get alerted about a gift and it disappears in 30 days, bringing all loyalty improvement efforts to zero
                          WHAT TO DO?
                          • Switch from # purchases-based program to total amount-based program: this will make the life of loyalty program members much easier
                          • In loyalty program description, outline the difference between Special Offers and Exclusive offers clearly, so that customers knew what to expect
                          • Adjust counter displays functionality in a way that when program member pays with their loyalty card, barista could check if free drinks from ad-hoc offer are available
                            11."THEY DO NOT READ IT ANYWAY"
                            OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS ON WEBSITE
                            EXPECTATION
                            Official and publicly available company documents are probably the last place where you decide to seek for mistakes, as every large company has in-house legal department responsible for this
                            REALITY
                            However the reality is far from expectations: there are over 30 mistakes in official public offer contracts published on http://Starbuckscard.ru
                            Also there are a couple of issues which make the life more difficult for customers who decided to contact Starbucks after reading these documents:
                            • In one of these documents the following phone number is mentioned: +7 495 648 95 82. However when one dials-in, automated voice message requests for an extension (which is unknown)
                            • In "My Starbucks Rewards" public offer, different emails are highlighted, and it is unclear which one to use: csd@starbuckscoffee.ru or starbucksinfo@starbuckscoffee.ru
                              WHAT TO DO?
                              • Fix the mistakes in the documents (see these with highlights below)
                              • Replace +7 495 648 95 82 with standard customer support phone number
                              • Use single email for customer support to avoid ambiguity on customer side
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