Evaluation of Customer Service Delivery in Starbucks Corporation
Starbucks Corporation is a leader in providing quality coffee to customers. Although it operates hundreds of product lines, the largest percentage of its profit comes from beverages. The corporation has an overwhelming presence and offers convenience. Moreover, its distribution strategy is unsophisticated and the corporation puts great efforts in making customers access to its products with ease and as well its locations avails more convenience to the customers (Evans and Hansen 4). The company has huge numbers of customers since most of its outlets are located in high- visibility, high-traffic and non-company retail channels. Nevertheless, Starbucks faces stiff competition from other similar corporations such as the McDonald’s and Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee. Despite this competition, Starbucks has always provides its customers with high-quality coffee (Roby 2). This paper therefore evaluates customer service delivery in the corporation.
The success of this multinational corporation can be attributed to its focus on customer service delivery and customer satisfaction. To ensure that its customers derive utility from the consumption of its products, the corporation has through time been making good use of human resources in creating this customer-oriented value. The corporation has actually ensured that it has put in place a conducive atmosphere where any visiting customer will be in a position to relax, enjoy (to fullest) his/her social interactions as w ell as have ample time with others (Evans and Hansen 7). In so doing, the company has actually transformed the original norm of buying coffee just as a drink to a more attractive new-fashioned norm of having an experience of enjoying the drink. Owing to this fact therefore, any visiting customer would wish to stay for a longer period in the store since the environment is inviting. Another element that the corporation has looked into in ensuring that its customers get utility is the provision of quality coffee. Since all its stores are company-owned, the company is in a position to control the quality of services and products for the customers. Besides, Starbucks has engaged in controlling its supply chain by working hand in hand with coffee growers and has implemented the enforcement of coffee standards (Roby 8). This move makes customers to esteem Starbucks products.
Starbucks has greatly invested in employee training and development for both old and new employees. Its workforce has continuously been trained of hard as well as soft skills with an objective of making the service delivery experience to customers pleasant. Through the soft skills, the workforce is better equipped to smoothly connect with customers. This equally enhances a friendly environment between the workforce and the visiting customers (Roby 11). Besides, the company has always ensured that the workforce is satisfied since this satisfaction among the employees leads to a higher level of customer satisfaction. The workforce is well remunerated and empowered and as thus feels that it is important part of the company. Through this, they feel appreciated and would also want to own the company; which as a result makes them offer excellent service to the customers. The corporation has also been involved in product innovation; making an expansion in its beverage menu as well as including food items. This has seen tremendous changes in the company’s customer demographics (Evans and Hansen 16). Markedly, however, the value preposition for Starbucks still remains the compelling factor. This is simply because the company places the customer and the service offered to the customer at the fore front. This value preposition- as earlier mentioned is not about coffee, but pertains to the experience of drinking coffee in Starbucks’ stores and at the same time integrating the product with the related emotional benefits.
On the contrary, there have been indications that the level of customer satisfaction has been of late declining. Nevertheless, this does not suggest that the quality of the services offered has declined. This might have been as a result of changes in the customers’ expectation, issues in marketing or even other forces from the external environment (Evans and Hansen 20). The corporation’s customer base in the recent past has been growing and statistics has shown that most of those less satisfied customers are the new ones or who it is their very first time to visit the stores. Owing to this fact therefore, it can be concluded that service delivery has not at its least been compromised; but that these new customers might be having relatively higher expectations since the established customers have a better opinion of the corporation (Roby 24).
However, a possible reason of the declining customer service delivery could be the company’s product innovation and retail expansion strategy. Initially, this business giant had set standards for its customers at a high level via its value preposition; of which it used to meet. However, following the company’s strategy of product innovation and retail expansion - which ran hand in hand with the customization of drinks - negative effects were experienced in the atmosphere, service delivery and coffee quality. All these led to the decline in customer satisfaction, besides changing the image of the brand (Roby 30).
With reference to the above discussion and more especially the reason behind declining customer service delivery and customer satisfaction, Starbucks ought to make a redefinition of its marketing strategies in which it will research and keenly evaluate the needs, wants and perceptions of its changing customer base. Moreover, the company is obliged to evaluate innovative sales in order for it to determine the impact of labor costs that will help tell whether or not sales prop the costs. Managing the increased customer base requires only fine-tuning of operations.