The paper “ Identifying and Assessing Starbucks’ CRM Program” is a worthy example of a case study on marketing. As a customer, I can tell the difference between ‘ customer service’ and ‘ customer relations’ when the service is personalized. I visit Starbucks at frequent, regular intervals, usually four or five mornings per week, and two or three afternoons or evenings. The average amount spent at each visit is not much, perhaps three or four dollars, but over the course of two years I have been visiting Starbucks has added up to a considerable sum.
The products offered by Starbucks – coffee and snacks – are the primary reason the relationship continues. Starbucks, however, does not have a monopoly on good coffee and pastries, and they are certainly not the lowest-priced coffee shop, but they give themselves an edge in my choice by being conveniently located and providing a comfortable atmosphere. Even though it is certainly part of a carefully-designed program, the people at Starbucks give the impression of being genuinely happy to see me; they remember my name and generally remember what I usually order.
I can get polite and efficient service in other places, but the feeling is different: in other places, the people appreciate me as a customer, in Starbucks, they appreciate me. That difference is what separates customer service from a customer relationship, from the customer’ s point of view; after all, it is difficult if not impossible to have a relationship with someone whom one does not know. Identifying and Assessing Starbucks’ CRM ProgramThe key to Starbucks’ being able to have an effective CRM program is the uniformity and efficiency of the stores.
The physical layout and appearance of a Starbucks store, the fixtures, and furnishings, and even the music that is played to entertain customers are all of a consistent, uniquely recognizable style that can be found in any of the company’ s several thousand locations. There are slight differences from store to store, but each one makes the same clear “ I’ m in a Starbucks” impression to a customer. This is important for CRM because the customer will instinctively expect the same comfortable, personalized service in any Starbucks as in the one he visits most often. Typically, a Starbucks store operates with a crew of four or five people; sometimes more in particularly busy locations, but based on observation, the CRM process seems to be optimized for the four or five-person staff.
Three of these workers will be in the counter and production area, while one or two (one is usually the manager or shift supervisor) handle other tasks such as tidying up the customer area. If the customer has not already been greeted by the “ floor” employee upon entering the store (which is the case more often than not), the employee on the opposite side of the glass display where pastries, juices, and other snacks are kept, will be the first point of contact between the customer and the staff.
This employee will greet the customer, suggest a purchase from the case, and usually take a preliminary drink order. If the store is not very busy, this employee will usually announce the order to the one at the back who makes most of the drinks, but not in busy periods. This may seem counter-intuitive since the purpose of taking a “ pre-order” would seem to save time.
The real object of this, however, is not to expedite orders but to keep customers’ attention; the rationale is that once a customer has actually given his order to an employee, he feels some obligation to stay patiently in line and wait for it. (Spolsky, 2008)