August 17, 2014 BY MJ PENCE
For a person that blogs on the topic of customer experience and is a consumer that’s passionate about the customer experience, to participate in a full feedback loop is pure enjoyment - good or bad. For me it is an opportunity to be part of an actual unanticipated case study.
And this time the customer feedback provided received immediate attention.
Even the best companies with high standards for customer service and tons of accolades from its loyal customers, succumb to the mistakes of a single employee or two. Even a company as great as Starbucks can be that company.
The details of the challenge at a particular Starbucks cafe are not the focus here but rather how Starbucks responded to the feedback. Like many big companies, consumer feedback is welcomed and feedback can be provided via the corporate website. For my issue, I utilized Starbucks online feedback form. Within 24 hours I received a personalized response. Within another 24 hours I received a response to my reply to the first response and notification that a district manager would be calling me the following day. And as promised the manager indeed called.
The manager expressed sincere concern and offered to meet with me to understand my issue further. We met and for thirty minutes the manager sought to understand every detail of my disappointing experience and often-great experiences too. An interesting thing happened as a result. I truly feel like Starbuck’s cares about ME personally and is going to do everything they can to address the issue. It is as if the manager is my long-time friend and my customer experience will go straight to the top of the company. I left feeling like I am Starbucks most important customer in the entire world. So what will happen in regards to my loyalty to Starbucks?
Let me explain the ‘why’ first…
Starbucks’ resolution process is clearly defined. The website form is easy to complete and not time consuming. And what I should expect from the process was clear. Starbucks immediately acknowledged my customer experience and made it clear that they understood the issue at the center of my feedback. The manager that called me gave me the perception that she was sincere, knowledgeable and empowered. The action was quick and precise. There was no doubt after our meeting that I felt a resolution would come swiftly. Starbucks was grateful for the feedback, good and bad.
By this collective action Starbucks garnered an even greater achievement. The entire process will improve the customer experience and ultimately The Company without any cost.
So the answer to the loyalty question is embedded in the following fact proven time and time again. If the customer feedback process or what I like to call ‘feedback loop’ is efficient, quick, and sincere, a once loyal customer turned dissatisfied can ultimately be an even more loyal customer after a great customer feedback experience. And if this does happen, a customer may be less likely to jump ship to a competitor simply based on price. Why leave a company for a few cents or dollars difference when I know the current company really and truly cares about its customers and ME. I have no idea how the competitor handles its customer feedback let alone their customer experience.
So with a smiling face, I now return to Starbucks far more often than before. And this my friends equates to more sales and happier patrons, one customer at a time, ME included.