A LOT has been written about the Starbucks Customer Experience and the companies' return to basics... re-training all employees on the core customer experience values that the company has driven in the past. Well I gotta tell ya, no amount of customer experience training makes up for a lack of product that is your bread and butter.
Today, I went to catch the 8:03 train from New Canaan to Grand Central. There is a little coffee shop right in the station and a Starbucks across the street. I chose the Starbucks today because I wanted an extra strong coffee this AM. I get on the line and notice its not really moving... hmmmm no announcements, no information being given out...
CE FAUX PAS NUMBER ONE - keep your customers informed! Bad news is worse than NO News... ok, finally get to the front of the line, ask for my large coffee with a shot of espresso.. "oh Sir, we don't have any coffee right now but if you wait 5-10 minutes it should be no problem"... I got to the front of the line @ 8AM, train leaves @ 8:03... sorry, and I dashed, just getting to the train as the doors closed.
CE FAUX PAS NUMBER TWO - ALWAYS, HAVE YOUR CORE PRODUCT AVAILABLE. This Starbucks does a HUGE commuter business and really takes home the bacon on their commuter traffic.. so to not be able to support those customers (i'm not the only one who was left high and coffee dry) is not putting the customer at the center of your business and its not going to drive customer loyalty. Now I feel, "gee, what if they run out again tomorrow, I think I will just play it safe and buy my coffee at the station."
CE Suggestion number 1: You know those 12 cup "travel packs" that you sell? Fill a few of them and keep them on hand for short falls just as this.
CE Suggestions number 2: Create a "Commuter Line", for those of us dashing for a train, we show our ticket, get on the line and get fast tracked service. Think of it as an extension to your loyalty program
CE Suggestion Number 3: There really is no excuse for running out of brewed coffee, suggest that you look at the process and management of this particular Starbucks and refine.
During these rush rush times Starbucks has the opportunity to deliver a little (or big) cup of joy during the morning rush.. and that is afterall what they are selling... what a missed opportunity to drive affinity for their brand. Especially to non-fans such as myself.