Starbucks outshined its competition over the holidays and saw a boost in their sales, while other retailers announced tepid or disappointing sales. In fact, they reported that revenue soared 12% to a record $5.4 billion. Yes, that’s a lot of coffee! But, it’s more than the coffee, it’s the experience they offer to their customers.

Starbucks knows that in a tight competitive market to stay in the lead, they must solve the problems that befuddle the industry. One of these areas has been in the digital arena of trying to incorporate the use of mobile devices into the in-store experience. Looking for ways to make it easier to do business with them, Starbucks rolled out a new app that allows customers to order and pay from afar and then walk in, skip the line and pick them up at the counter. Wow! I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to a Starbucks and walked out because the line was too long. Not only does this help the customer, it obviously helps Starbucks ring up more sales – especially during their busiest hours.

The lesson to be learned from this coffee giant is a lesson all businesses and organizations can focus and give attention to: what is the process or hurdle that makes it difficult for customers to do business with you? Look through the lens of your customer.  Find a solution, implement the solution, and you will leapfrog your competition. The solution doesn’t always have to be technology driven, sometimes it is just a rethinking of how the process was designed.

Listen to your customers and listen to your employees for those hot buttons of opportunities to improve the way things are being done today. Because when you can Delight your customer, you have a better chance of retaining them to become a loyal customer. Obviously, this is the strategy of Starbucks!

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