Curt Fowler: How Starbucks Rocks Their Customers

| October 27, 2017

By: Curt Fowler | Fowler & Company

Starbucks charges $4+ for a cup of coffee…

And people keep buying.


Below are five ways Starbucks delivers the kind of customer experience required to get people to make $4 coffee a daily habit. Which of these ideas could you implement in your business?

  1. The Coffee is Good – Complain about the dark roast all you like, it is hard to get a bad cup of coffee at Starbucks. How? Training and a lot of great policies. New employees receive 24 hours of formal classroom training and 30 hours of on-site training before they can work as baristas.
  2. Great or a New Coffee – If your drink isn’t up to your liking they will remake it until you are satisfied. Great training and systems ensures that a customer being dissatisfied with their coffee rarely happens, but when it does they will make it right.
  3. The Recovery Card – If you wait too long for your drink or if it isn’t right the first time, you might receive a “Recovery Card” for a free beverage next time you visit. Store managers nor baristas are penalized for giving out these cards. Starbucks believes that a happy, repeat customer is worth the expense.
  4. Speed – Store managers aim to serve a customer within 3 minutes of them walking in the store. A Business Insider article reports that a fully staffed Starbucks can serve 220 customers per hour!
  5. Great People – Someone once asked Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO) how they train their employees to smile all the time. “It’s easy”, said Schultz, “We just hire people who smile all the time.” Starbucks also offers health care benefits to all employees that work over 20 hours per week. That costs the company a lot of money ($250 million in 2009), but ensures that great people apply for those jobs.

So, what did you learn? Are you training your employees like you should? How is your interview process? What is your return policy?

Pick just one of these ideas and implement it immediately. As we discussed in previously articles, the payoff will be huge!

For more tools on building a great organization, head over to our Resource Page and check out our free tools to help you get started or give us a call at 229-375-5613.

Curt Fowler is an organizational growth expert and President of Fowler & Company, a business advisory firm dedicated to helping leaders create and achieve a compelling vision for their organization. He has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.

Have a business growth topic you’d like me to cover? Send suggestions to cfowler [at] or use our contact form by clicking here.

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