I love Starbucks. I don’t think I knew how to put my finger on it before. I just knew that of all the large mega companies in the world, I had a sweet spot for them. Some people like going local and supporting the little guys. I have no problem with that. But for me, when it comes down to my coffee shop top pick (notice I didn’t say “coffee top pick”), I always draw to Starbucks. In this department, trying something new doesn’t entice me. I know Starbucks will deliver what I want.
And that’s just it, the thing I’ve been saying to people all these years: “they give people what they want, so all the power to them.”. Businesses that do a good job deserve a pat on the back. And Starbucks is one of them, even if they are big, and in the limelight, which equals being under a close eye of scrutiny for everything. That just comes with size. Compared to the other large corporations out there, this one ain’t doin’ too bad as far as I can tell. Either that, or they have a really good pr department or strategy, which is also genius of them.
Ok so why am I writing this all, one letter key at a time on my iPhone? Well, to answer the first part of that question, it’s because this morning I had a conversation with my mom:
“we should calculate how much it would cost us to eat out once a week, then twice a week, and so on, so that way we can look at the total amount and decide whether we are willing to spend that money from our income just for the sheer pleasure if doing something we like to do (eating out, in this case).”
(Logic there is that spending without calculating can easily be a drain one’s bank account, but knowing the sacrifice in advance allows us to consciously decide if the price to pay is worth it for what we get in return.)
We talked numbers for a bit and then I said, “oh and going to Starbucks too.”
My mom told me how much I could save by brewing my own coffee at home (which I do all the time, by the way). The number was in the hundred something range.
“yeah, but Starbucks doesn’t sell me coffee,” I said. Of course my mom looked confused.
“then what do they sell?” she asked.
“they sell me an experience,” I said.
“how?” she responded.
I admit it was tough to put my finger on it. Things I came up with on the spot were:
The place looks so nice
The staff take your order and are friendly
They brew your coffee RIGHT
They have all those syrup flavours
I can sit down and enjoy my coffee afterwards
It feels warm
Even the cup, everything – it all makes a difference
But later in the day I had an opportunity to visit the library. “hmmmm what should I read as I wait here?” I thought. I browsed the catalogue and found a Starbucks book called, The Starbucks Experience.
Go figure, the foreword by Jim Alling, President, Starbucks US Business (as it is signed in the book, copyright 2007), says what I was trying to say this morning, only on a much better, concise and inspiring way than the job I did on the subject:
“Just little moments like smiling as we hand you a drink, hand-crafting your beverage just the way you like it, and providing a comfy chair and a place to get away from it all without going very far.”
And the title of this post? I didn’t make that up, I got it from Alling’s words earlier in the foreword.
It’s funny cause as my mom and I were having this conversation, we were eating in a restaurant that clearly puts profits first, and I can tell you I won’t be going back there because my experience was so awful. That and the food was bad. The hostess attitude was bad, the place was dirty and when my mom told the server that her coffee tasted like hot water, he responded by saying,
“ok, so no coffee then?”
You tell me what would have been a better response, solution or way of handling the situation than that. It’s not hard to figure it out. Customer service 101 pal.
So needless to say my mother ate a dry bad breakfast without coffee.
And now I’m writing this post. Will I be posting a bad review and a photo of the dusty dirty booth we sat on the Internet? You bet. The business deserves nothing less. Stay tuned.
Tying this all together, my point again is that Starbucks is a business that gives people what they want. Its so simple, and has made them so successful. But for some reason many (too many in my opinion) businesses don’t get it, don’t follow suit and thus cease to grow.
I could go on and on and on. I’ve got examples galore that I could vent about. But I know your day is short. And so is mine.
So, till next time, let’s all reward businesses who put profitability last and customer experience first.