Starbucks: Delivering customer service

Executive summary Cutbacks, the world leader coffee store came to realize that they were not properly using the data, which they had been collecting over the past years. After carefully reviewing it they came to the conclusion that even though they were growing at a very good pace and generating a lot of revenues, their customer satisfaction was not what they expected. Cutbacks had their customers divided into three types: unsatisfied (42%), satisfied (37%) and very satisfied (21 It Is hard to believe that the customer satisfaction would be low when they were obtaining great results worldwide.

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Such a high number of unsatisfied clients also meant a shift on the average type of customer for Cutbacks. Their new average profile is a younger, lower income, and less educated person compared to the older, higher income, and better educated one In the past. The mall concern Is that this could lead to a big decrease In revenues in the long run. We are going to propose a yearly investment of 40 million dollars in order to improve the speed of service and therefore the customer satisfaction.

We will do so by adding 20 more labor hours per week In each of the 4500 stores In North America. We strongly believe that customer satisfaction will increase and we will have many more satisfied and highly customers, which are the ones that bring the most profit to the company. Problem Statement Despite of Cutbacks overwhelming presence, customer’s expectations have recently not been satisfied. Customers believe that the brand has been focusing primarily on making money and neglecting the speed-of-service, hence diminishing the customers “Cutbacks experience”.

Situation Analysis Strengths Following a multi-pronged approach, Cutbacks has become one of the world leading successful coffee brands, with stores located worldwide heir market share by maximizing customer satisfaction. Cutbacks is trying to achieve this goal by differentiating themselves from their competitors. By providing high quality coffee, and delivering great customer service Cutbacks has earned itself a strong global brand awareness. Weakness Cutbacks targets a variety of segments, with a main focus on well-educated customers between the ages of 24 and 44.

However, recently their customer base is shifting to a younger less educated, lower income consumer. Since most of Cutbacks products satisfied customers. Another problem that Cutbacks is facing is that some stores currently eave long queue times, which affect the customer satisfaction rating. As a consequence Cutbacks are losing potential customers. Threats As Coffee is a substitute product, Cutbacks has to focus on keeping their customers loyal by fulfilling their expectations.

Cutbacks biggest threat are their competitors such as McDonald’s (Mac Café), Dunking Donuts, and other low-cost coffee stores who are aggressively expanding and entering into the coffee market by offering good value coffee at a cheap price. Another disadvantage Cutbacks has to face is that the price of coffee beans fluctuates depending on harvesting conditions. Their goal is to keep increasing Kettle, P. , Keller, K. , Brady, M. , Goodman, M. And T. Hansen (2009), Marketing Management: European Edition, 1st Edition, Pearson Education Limited.

Opportunities Cutbacks aim is to get their high-end customers back and increase their loyalty towards the brand by offering them a faster service, hence a better “Cutbacks Alternatives to the conclusion that they need to improve customer satisfaction. We truly believe that by improving the way customers see Cutbacks, we will be able to make the current customers more loyal as well as bringing new customers in. We have evaluated several approaches that loud be taken towards the pursue of Stardust’s goal: 1) We thought about developing a very strong advertising plan to change the perspective that customers have at this moment.

On the one hand advertising could have a positive impact for Cutbacks, but on the other hand they have never done advertising before. If advertising is suddenly brought into the company, consumers will perceive a weakness which could therefore have a negative effect on the company in the long run. 2) Another option was not to spend any money on improving Cutbacks service. Looking at the financial statements, Cutbacks keeps growing each year at a very insistent rate. There is no reason to change something when the company is obtaining good results and risk money that will also risk the value of the shares.

If nothing is done the company might keep growing in the short term but we will keep losing the kind of costumers that we desire as well as the most loyal ones. Therefore in order to keep growing in the long run, improving the costumers ‘satisfaction is a key factor for Cutbacks and action needs to be taken from the company. Speed of service at our stores. After doing some research we came to the conclusion that we only need 5. 9 more orders per day with an average price of $4. 04 at each store in order to make a profit with the initial investment.

With this measure we are trying to capture more new clients that were not willing to wait such a long time for coffee before as well as create more loyal clients that are our most profitable ones. Recommendations Our main recommendation for Cutbacks is for them to add more labor hours per store, by adding additional employees. We recommend Cutbacks to take a course of action in order to achieve a higher overall satisfied customer rating, by lowering overall waiting time. This solution will bring in more repeating customers and raise profit per store. Adding more labor hours and additional workers to certain stores this should help bring the average wait time closer to the three minute mark. This will then increase the overall customers. However we think that this solution will benefit some stores more than others. We decided that the best way to implement this plan was to add the labor hours based on the stores rush hour. Since the change in rush hours is going to greatest affect the overall customer satisfaction. Also some locations are Just generally busier overall than others; we eave decided to focus on these stores that are bringing the average waiting time up.

The plan that we would recommend to Cutbacks would be to invest $millions dollars on increasing workers with 20 hours/week for each store. We would first focus on the stores with the highest average wait time and try to cut those done by analyzing the rush to improve essentially the 2 John Squelch, Younger Moon. Struck:Delivering Customer Service. Case Study. Boston: Harvard Business School, 2006. Pent. 3 IBID hours per store and seeing where the 20 hours would best be used. We also saw that the average daily customers count per store being 5704 hat the average weekly store volume being 1 5,4005 income would be around $multimillion.

Also with the current expenditures per customer being $4. 066 customers with 45008 year. So in order for there to be an increase in profit per store there is going to need to be on average 6 new orders a day at an average price of $4. 04. Given our proposal to increase work labor we are hoping to increase the overall satisfaction of customers which will lead to both we found that the average volume a visit, Based on the given numbers like say that there are 57 stores. This gives us a number around 2,189 customers per store and

Starbucks: Delivering Customer Service

Howard Schultz, an employee of a small coffee-bean store called “Cutbacks” was enlightened while sipping an espresso in a coffee shop in Milan, and the rest is history. He envisioned America’s “third place” next to home and work, where coffee- connoisseurs could linger and relax In a classy, pseudo-European atmosphere while enjoying their favorite bean beverage. After buying the company a few years later, he vigorously pursued his vision of selling a wide-selection of hand-crafted brewed espresso of remarkable quality along the extensive line of coffee beans from all round the world.

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This was provided at a price well above Industry standards, with a cup of coffee costing twice as much as that offered at any similar venue. Though initial skeptics where dubious regarding the product’s breakthrough success, customers found the price a small drawback next to great service and friendly ambiance and gladly cashed out upwards of a dollar for a single cup of coffee. The product line was simultaneously evolved, with a new warm beverage hitting stores at least once every holiday season.

Over the years, the Cutbacks experience was adopted by a far wider range of customers than the Minimal upscale 25-44 female white collar coffee lover. This Is In part due to Cutbacks’ universal appeal, since the soothing atmosphere provides a safe haven for anyone wanting to take a break. Also, the vast range of beverages paired with the high-level of customization gives way to a mind-boggling variety, served fresh on location and available to slut almost anyone’s taste. As a result, sales of beverages have escalated to 77% of total sales while a decade earner the distribution was equal to that of coffee beans.

Generally, Cutbacks Is proud to have a high approval rate among employees and partners” (with 80-90% claiming to be satisfied with their employment). They firmly believe that a satisfied partner is the key to having satisfied customers. This has mostly paid off, with consumers appreciating the high quality of the products, service, and atmosphere. However, more recent market research shows a decline in customer satisfaction. With speed of service being the mall Issue In most cases. As a result. An extra $40 million is planned to be injected to make sales quicker and more efficient.

As of now, it is still debated if this would be a sane and profitable course of action to allow, and whether it would truly add substantial customer value in the long run. PEST Analysis The factors influencing the market for coffee should be carefully investigated before moving on to more advanced, In-depth analysis. By doing so, we will get a good general overview of Just what the most significant political, environmental, socio- demographic and technological factors might be. The issue of taxation regarding coffee plays a large role on the level of profitability.

Although fairly modest in the USA, the amount of tax levied on coffee can be decisive as to whether the given country will be seen as profitable. Generally speaking, legal regulations regarding sale and consumption (e. G. Possible age restrictions like “not to be sold to minors”) are not expected to change, though recent government-funded studies in the US established the “healthy” coffee consumption at two cups per day and not more, this is more likely to have an effect on the self-moderation of heavy coffee-drinkers than actually provoke any sort of governmental or legislative proceedings.

Environmental It can be said that in Metropolises and large cities people find a fast-serving coffee shop extremely appealing, as large crowds and rush hours demand convenient arrive, and for many customers is a prerequisite to their visiting places like Cutbacks. In places that are not of central or key location, fast service might not be ranked as highly as friendliness of staff, and customers might also spend a longer time in a store than one on the way to the office.

Furthermore, it can be safe to assume that in areas or seasons where or when it is cooler, a warm cup of coffee or other beverage might be especially inviting, more than somewhere where it is unusually warm year-round. Socio-demographic With coffee drinking being conceived as an indulgence of the socially elite, it doodads enjoys widespread appeal which is supported by the fact that today every other American drinks coffee while Just a few years back consumption was declining steeply.

Though coffee houses throughout Europe have a self-explanatory function of meeting point, discussion area and recreational facility, this concept has only been explored recently in North America, and is gaining in popularity and social recognition as we speak, and is only expected to increase over the course of the next few years. Technological Recent developments in coffee-brewing resulted in machines such as the Newspapers, Senses or Lily café, which allow consumers to make espressos quickly and efficiently.

They deliver high quality (at least in the case of ones like Newspapers) single-portion pellet coffee, comparable to that received from an espresso machine in a coffee shop. Although this will probably not affect the sales of coffee shops drastically, it can start a trend where offices purchasing such machines will have employees less motivated to grab a coffee on the way to or during office hours. On the other hand, machines product quality, resulting in turn in an increased level of customer satisfaction.

VS. Valued Customer Cutbacks primarily focuses on affluent and well educated people, in the age of 25 and 44 that would eagerly pay a bit more for enjoying a specialty / gourmet coffee before going to work or anytime they need to relax. Value Proposition A high quality coffee originating and directly purchased from various regions as Africa, Central & South America, Asia Pacific, provided to the customers in a convenient, trendy and pleasant ambiance, with the best, customer intimacy service. Value Network Cutbacks stores are widely available in North America and in many international Mounties.

There are company-operated stores, specialty operations channels (food service, hotels), domestic retail store licenses (airports) and international licensed or non-licensed stores. Research and Development focuses on the operation of a twelve to eighteen months product cycle while service is enhanced by the use of a prepaid smarted called “Stored Value Card”. Organizational Context Performance Management The vast variety of Cutbacks’ products made the baristas Job very complex. In less than ten years the number of available products increased to hundreds of combinations.

Therefore, strict rules and specific methods were imposed by management in order to deliver high quality results and the desired personalized service. “Hard and Soft Skills” were taught besides discipline as the crucial aspects of the Baristas Job. This also led to the lowest employee turnover rate in the industry as Cutbacks recruits its administrative staff from its store and area managers. On this way Cutbacks makes sure that its company leaders have a profound knowledge of the company and business.

Social Support Cutbacks has a considerable employee satisfaction rate (80% – fact results room various points: all employees are called “partners”, the company offers health insurance, stock options and the relatively high wages. Consequently, the social that would prompt and enhance performance and loyalty. The Brand Report Card The brand report card is a tool which helps managers to think systematically about how to grade their brand’s performance on ten specific characteristics. These characteristics are shared by the world’s strongest brands (Keller, 2000).

All characteristics are valued from one (inadequately) to five (breakthrough) Delivering on customers’ desires Eventually, Cutbacks created a customer need. It became a ‘third place’ besides home and work. Research however showed that Cutbacks nowadays is not always meeting its customers’ needs (Case Cutbacks, 2004). Therefore we value this characteristic four out of five. Relevance Cutbacks regularly launches new products. At least one new hot beverage is introduced every holiday season. Furthermore, the new product development process is well developed.

However, as Cutbacks is losing sight of its customers, the need to focus on customer needs could prove essential in keeping the brand relevant. Therefore we value this characteristic five out of five. Value Cutbacks creates an experience around the consumption of coffee. However, research showed that the brand image had some rough edges. The company has to ask itself if it is really communicating its values well. We value this characteristic four out of five. Consistency Generally, Cutbacks did not try to change its image since the beginning. Customers see the company as a convenient place to drink a cup of coffee.

Nevertheless, the product portfolio was extended with non-coffee beverages and snacks losing track of coffee beverages. Therefore we value this characteristic four out of five. Positioning Cutbacks positioned itself clearly by creating a coffee experience for customers. To achieve this, the company focused on three components: the product itself, service and atmosphere. Furthermore, service is an important factor in Cutbacks’ strategy. We value this characteristic five out of five. Since Cutbacks does not carry any other brands, we cannot value this characteristic properly.

Integrated marketing activities Marketing is everywhere in the Cutbacks organization, however, this structure also meant that market- and customer related trends could sometimes be overlooked. As was stated: “we tend to be great at measuring things, at collecting market data, but we are not very disciplined when it comes to using this data to drive decision marketing” (Case Cutbacks, 2004). Therefore we value this characteristic three out of five. Management For a long time, Cutbacks has been an established player in the coffee shop market.

However, as market research pointed out that customers are changing, management needs to adapt to this changing need of the customer. While information is already available, this should be possible. We value this characteristic two out of five. Support As was mentioned before, R&D plays an important role in sustaining and developing the Cutbacks brand. On the other side, Cutbacks in the past reacted slowly to market research results. We value this characteristic three out of five. Monitoring As was mentioned before, Cutbacks has been an established, strong brand in the past.

Nowadays, the company can no longer rely solely on this brand image. As market research made clear that the image of the brand is not as well as one thought, Cutbacks has to create a differentiated image and regularly has to audit this brand image. We valued this characteristic three out of five. In general we can say that Cutbacks scores high with a 3. 7, indicating that it is a strong brand. However, as the market and especially its customers change, the company has to keep track of these changes by understanding the customers’ needs and adapt the company policies according to them.

Research has to take place regularly to stay in touch with the customers’ valued attributes. Furthermore, marketing activities should be integrated and structured better through the organization in order to reach full understanding of these activities. Brand Positioning reduce and where the advantages of the product are compared to the competing product. Companies furthermore need to know where its brand is located and which features its product has in common of those of its competitors.

Efficient positioning of a brand to be successful in a competitive environment requires the identification of those three crucial aspects: frame of reference, points of parity and points of difference. Frame of reference Stardust’s major frame of reference is that of a coffee supplier. But this major frame can be subdivided into two minor parts for Stardust’s operations. For the Cutbacks retail stores coffee beverage is the frame of reference, whereas coffee vendor is the frame of reference for the sales group of Cutbacks trading with whole beans.

Points of Parity Cutbacks faces basically two competitors: local cafes and fast food chain which are increasingly offering coffee beverages. With the local cafes Cutbacks share points of parity in quality and price. Both offer a high-quality coffee for a relatively high price Cutbacks and the local coffee stores also have in common the community. At a local café a customer can also met friends or other people. Cutbacks and fast food chains have in common that it is convenient to go there. One does not need to wait for a coffee for a long time and is in a very casual environment.

Points of Difference In contrast to the majority of the coffee suppliers, Cutbacks focuses on the continuous development of its products and innovation of new ones. At the moment Cutbacks offers hundreds of combinations of drinks made from the 11 basic hot coffee beverages offered. Service is important to Cutbacks and the company tries to make it a unique resource which sets them apart from its competitors. Stardust’s service staff gets a special training to serve a customer in the fastest and best possible way, so that every single customer feels welcome.

Recently Cutbacks offers its customers to purchase a package offering wireless Internet access in more than 2000 stores in the US and Europe. Cutbacks in addition does not sale coffee, it sales the “Cutbacks experience”. The created an environment and atmosphere which invites the customer to stay longer in the store and enjoy the coffee while he or she can relax. Cutbacks stores offer an experience. They are a way of life and make the customer want more. With this perception the customer will return to any Cutbacks store in the world as he or she knows what to expect and get inside.

Cutbacks built its brand and image around the product itself. Cutbacks manages to stay on top of the highly competitive coffee supplier market. The company uses several means to differ from the rest of the industry. Although the number of competitors is increasing, so far no competitor exists operating in a global like Cutbacks does. Hence, the company can profit from its reputation on a global level. The Importance of Cutbacks’ Store Growth It is obvious from the graph, the increasing importance of Cutbacks’ objective for a retail expansion, not only in the USA but in the whole world.

The store growth between ’98- ’02 in the International field has been quite remarkable. In ’98 there were only 131 stores while in ’02 there were 1312. Globalization and the increase in consumers perception that transnational companies have high quality and innovative products (78%), track new opportunities for growing, multinationals companies like Cutbacks. Dimensions of Global Brands Brands operating on a global level are associated with three distinct attributes by customers. These are taken into account for the buying decision of the prospective customer.

With 5886 stores in 37 countries Cutbacks is regarded a global brand. Hence, the three characteristics can be applied to evaluate the perception of Cutbacks from the customers’ point of view and how the company caters them. Quality Signal Customers connect quality to global brands. From their perspective global brands are more dynamic and have an emphasis on product development and improvement. Although the product will be more expensive, its quality compensates for price. Cutbacks attaches importance to high quality products.

Therefore, Cutbacks only purchases the best green beans available in the market. Their selection and Stardust’s expertise in roasting are the basis for the quality and the range of coffee offered in stores. On this way Cutbacks guarantees the customer to get the same high-quality coffee in every store all around the world. Global Myth Customers believe that global brands make them part of something bigger and give them a sense of belonging. Cutbacks tries to appeal to this sense of belonging by their unique atmosphere they all “coffee experience”.

Going to Cutbacks is more than Just drinking a coffee. The company offers customers the opportunity to sit down and relax, to meet others or just enjoy a nice atmosphere. The unique combination of lounge-flair, music and coffee makes Cutbacks a “third place”. All around the world entering a Cutbacks store gives the customer the chance to seize this experience and atmosphere. Social Responsibility Customers all around the world demand global brands to make use of their influence and power to positively influence society’s well-being.

Social responsibility is expected to be part of the company’s policy and actions. Beneficial achievements by a company can lead to increased revenues as customers appreciate the effort taken by this specific company. As Cutbacks is also well-aware of this fact it has an extensive program linked to social responsibility and made it part of the company’s mission statement. The company’s social responsibility reaches from community programs to projects for improving the conditions of coffee farmers and their families or policies throughout all of the company’s operations to minimize the environmental impact.

To reach rather goals Cutbacks entered a partnership with the United States Agency for International Development and found The Cutbacks Foundation. This foundation aims at creating hope, discovery, and opportunity in communities where Cutbacks lives and works, especially in the inner-city areas. These three dimensions of global brands are the basis for the preference of customers for Cutbacks coffee. Cutbacks has created and implemented polices to serve these attributes in order to enhance the sales of Cutbacks products by an increasing number of customers. Adding Value Through Creating Customer Intimacy

Cutbacks’ satisfied customers, according to a recent survey, visit a store on an average of 4. 3 times a month. If the customers are highly satisfied they might even visit a store up to 7. 2 times a month. The most loyal customers visit Cutbacks 18 times a month. The latter ones especially value the high-quality and place trust in Cutbacks as a brand delivering products of the anticipated quality. As the customer satisfaction decreased in recent years, Cutbacks has to find new ways to attract new customers or create long-term relationships with the most loyal $4 per visit which makes up for $16 or $28 per month.

To extend the customer life and reach the aim of increasing customer satisfaction, customer intimacy needs to be created. Creating customer intimacy is a difficult issue for a company that serves 20 million customers in more than 5000 stores worldwide. Therefore, it is necessary to pay special attention to the customers being loyal and returning most frequently. Identifying these is the major issue. One opportunity is that the Baristas have to pay special attention and identify them. This is problematic as they have to prepare the coffee and simply too many customers enter and leave the shop during the day.

Alternatively, Cutbacks can further build on the idea of gift cards, extending their functions to act as “smart cards”, providing customer incentives such as “buy-ten- get-one-free” deals and free promos of new products to regular customers. Besides boosting sales, it would also allow ludicrous amounts of customer information to be retrieved, ranging anywhere to consumption habits, frequency of visits and locations of purchase, to start. The Baristas need to be instructed to pay extra attention to return customers shopping with such cards (constituting our most valued customer base).

In this way, frequently returning customers can be identified. The Baristas should be instructed in studying customer files in order to recognize the customer as well as his or her preferred coffee variation, and they should be encouraged to interact with them and offer them samples of new beverages. This will lead to an individualized service with which Cutbacks can create a more personal environment. Such a personal atmosphere makes customers feel more welcome and make them return even more often. Hence, the company can create closer links with this important customer group.

This can also be seen as an extension of Cutbacks’ “third place” approach. Establishing customer intimacy with less satisfied or less frequently returning customers is more difficult. Personalizing their coffee with the huge variety of products and flavors offered is already a beginning to create customer intimacy. Increasing the satisfaction of these customers and make them return more often can only be done by an increased service. On the one hand waiting times have to be reduced and every single customer has to be treated the same way.

Making them feel welcome and paying attention to their wishes is crucial for creating a “third lace” to which they like to return. Strategic Options Cutbacks is in many areas a groundbreaking company and a true pioneer in providing heightened customer service and value. Although their core product, no matter how fine and exotic, is the everyday, household coffee bean, and an expensive version at that, they do more than Just brewing and selling a beverage, they provide customers with what they define as the “Cutbacks experience”.

This is a timeless it seams that there are people from all over the world who share a common enthusiasm regarding what Cutbacks has to offer. However, Cutbacks needs to be clear with several hard and fast facts of matter. Most important of all, it has to be realized that there are consumers who the company provides high quality products and service to, and they are or should be the company’s primary concern. Getting lost in product line development, expansion policies and endless battles with competition results of losing track of actually who it was that got the firm here in the first place: the customers.

Making them feel special and valued has little to do with whether or not a seasonally special coconut toffee Allan machismo is introduced or not. Although having a large selection of choice available appeals to most people and gives way to high levels of customization, it is of mediocre importance in generating customer loyalty and will sooner or later have almost as substantial of an intimidating effect on new or prospective users.

However, the idea of introducing Cutbacks to consumers through retail of products such as roasted specialty beans, ground coffee or even ice-cream via food chains and such is valuable and should be expanded. This will allow people to get accustomed to the experience and basic terminology and make them feel more comfortable entering a Cutbacks parlous for the first time. Furthermore, by providing the advanced system of “smart cards” mentioned earlier, the company has a chance to prove that being multinational and providing customer intimacy are not mutually exclusive..

Thus, establishing key accounts can be made possible for Cutbacks and would in turn allow them to more efficiently describe each individual consumer. Since return customers are of utmost importance for Cutbacks, they should do whatever is in their power to cling on to existing, loyal ones. This loud include investing the aforementioned $40 in sales force in order to speed up service.