Posted on May 9, 2008 by Dennis Snow
In a previous post I mentioned the challenges that Starbucks is facing - falling profits, diminished customer service and commoditizing the experience. Others have been blogging about the same issue. In fact there is now something called "The Starbucks Project" which was started by loyal customers and is dedicated to providing Starbucks with feedback and advice for improving their customer service and their business strategy.
While I am certainly going to follow The Starbucks Project, here's the real lesson for businesses: When you have done the work to create intense customer loyalty over time, your customers care about what happens to you. At least the truly loyal customers do. I know that I want my customers to care so much that if I screw up, they make the effort to give me feedback. If customers don't care they'll just jump ship and go somewhere else.
Many Starbucks customers are clearly going somewhere else. But many are apparently ready to help them out. That's the kind of loyalty we should all shoot for. It's up to Starbucks, of course, to take action. Loyalty will only go so far if nothing changes.