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Inspiring #CX Story- Starbucks

Updated: Jun 7

This week's inspiring CX case study is about Starbucks.


Starbucks, the world-renowned coffee company, is known for its exceptional customer experience and innovative offerings. To stay ahead in the competitive coffee industry and maintain its reputation, Starbucks has consistently prioritized understanding its customers and their needs


Starbucks aspires to be the "third place" where customers feel a sense of belonging, in addition to home and work. Keeping coffee and connection, at the centre


Their focus on creating comfort and warmth has been driven by efforts to understand customer needs and innovate seamless and pleasurable visits.


Customer Journey Mapping


Starbucks conducted extensive research to gain insights into its customers’ interactions with the brand, both online and offline. This information was used to create detailed customer journey maps, highlighting key touchpoints, emotional states, and pain points. Some notable pain points included long wait times, inconsistent product quality, and challenges in navigating the rewards program. The company also identified opportunities to enhance the in-store experience, such as incorporating digital technologies and personalising customer interactions.


Mobile order & pay, personalized rewards and many more innovations emerged out of this exercise to address pain points. In addition, they invested heavily in partner success, wage and well being benefits– so that they can create “happy connections” with customers.


Digital Technology


The Third Place has never been defined solely by a physical space, it’s also the feeling of warmth, connection, a sense of belonging Starbucks. Starbucks stores are serving more people each day than ever, with customers often ordering on their phones instead of at the counter. Digital technology is helping augment and extend that feeling of connection with customers – whether they are in Starbucks stores, in their cars, on their doorsteps.

Starbucks is enhancing Mobile Order to make it easier for customers to order, anticipate when their order will be ready, and make it easier and more efficient for partners to serve mobile order customers, eliminating some of the stress at peak times


Coffee at the core

The menu has grown from just a handful of drinks to dozens, with stores built for mostly hot beverages straining to meet the demand for more customized drinks and cold beverages. Starbucks is reimagining the coffee experience with breakthrough beverage innovation that is elevating coffee craft and quality. Whether the coffee is hot or cold – Starbucks is turning to proprietary, patented technology invented in-house, like the new Clover Vertica™, which offers every customer a freshly brewed cup of coffee in just 30 seconds.

A new proprietary Siren System that features a custom ice dispenser, milk-dispensing system and new, faster blenders all located within reach of a barista, reducing bending and heavy lifting. It also eliminates the need to move back and forth behind the service bar and eases congestion in a crowded, busy space.

Food is an increasingly important part of the mix – what was once a case of mostly breakfast pastries case is now a food platform that includes warmed sandwiches, available all day long. The Siren System will also help with food. Most breakfast sandwiches take approximately 65 to 85 seconds to individually warm in the ovens. Starbucks now batch cook them instead and place them in a heated rack, or warming wall, next to the drive-thru window, which helpa serve customers faster. The goal is to meaningfully reduce drive-thru and customer wait times.


Store Experience


One of the strategic shifts Schultz announced is to “reimagine our store experience for greater connection, ease and a planet positive impact.” Starbucks purpose-built store design approach helped modernize physical stores to serve the increasing demand while creating an environment that is inclusive and accessible, through the lens of sustainability. To help drive innovation, Starbucks has turned to the team of R&D experts and baristas working side-by-side in Starbucks Tryer Center, to help streamline the work behind the counter, and enable more time for genuine human connection.


Partner Program


Starbucks is placing its partners at the core of its Reinvention plan. The company believes that investing in its partner base is key to delivering high-quality customer experiences, uplifting brand affinity and customer loyalty, and increasing value back to partners through wages, benefits, programming, and tools for continued personal growth.


Starbucks is providing new leadership trainings, reinventing scheduling and decision-making tools, and creating career journey mapping to improve store manager retention and empower them to focus on core functions of the job that increase satisfaction and overall performance of their store partners.


Serving more customers


The company also plans to add 2,000 net new stores in the U.S. by 2025, diversifying the portfolio of stores across cafes, pick up stores, drive thru-only, and delivery-only locations to meet Starbucks customers whenever and wherever they want.

Brewer adds, “As we drive even more demand ahead, we are enabling our stores to handle even more capacity, while significantly reducing the effort required from our partners, so that we can enable partners to focus on what they love doing – crafting the world’s best coffee and connecting with customers.”

“We have a heritage of continuously adapting how we serve customers, anticipating where they are going and innovating to take them there,” said Brewer. “Connection is who Starbucks has always been.”



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