We Can All Learn From How Starbucks Revolutionized The Customer Service Industry

“We are not in the coffee business serving people, we are in the people business serving coffee. People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they’re proud of, that they’ll fight for, and that they trust. “ – Howard Schultz

This is what the business leaders of Starbucks Coffee Company have built. They have revolutionized the customer service industry – it is no wonder they have raving employees, and raving customers who can’t go a day without them. And it goes far beyond simple cups of coffee.

So, what makes Starbucks different from its competition?

Starbucks’ Customer Service Vision Statement

Unnamed 3, The DiJulius Group“We create inspired moments in each customer’s day. ANTICIPATE CONNECT PERSONALIZE OWN.”

This is the customer service vision statement of Starbucks. At its foundation is customer engagement based on the human spirit. And by placing the statement on the inside of their retail store employees’ aprons, unlike most coffee shops they make sure those employees are reminded of the company’s vision every single day.

The service vision is an essential tool that organizations need to have so that team members understand what their role is in the company, as well as how important it is. And it’s a reminder of how they can ruin that role very easily if they’re not on their game.

The customer service vision is totally different from your company’s mission, purpose, or core values. It doesn’t mention specific features, or marketing incentives e.g., Starbucks rewards. The vision is created to inspire your employees and to remind them of what they need to do in every interaction they have with customers – whether it’s five seconds or 15 minutes long.

This is the starting point of what is referred to as the “burden” of the brand, i.e. if you’re living up to your customer experience. And this user experience – which can begin on a mobile app or when receiving a Starbucks Card as a gift, before a customer even sets foot in a store – is what draws them in for the first time or which brings them back, over and over again.

The 4 Pillars of Starbucks’ Service Vision

The Starbucks pillars are anticipate, connect, personalize, and own:

  • Anticipate – For instance, predict the unspoken request of your customer.
  • Connect – Make a connection. (While an order placed on a mobile device needs less face-to-face contact, there’s always a way to connect with a customer at a retail location without extending the time.)
  • Personalize – There are over 170,000 ways you can order your Starbucks drink; people love personalized experience, and the Starbucks experience delivers it to customers AND back to the company – via happy customers, who typically spend more
  • Own – Make the customer feel that you are happy to make their order again if that’s what they want or offer to make them something different. Whatever it is, own it. If the customer drops their drink, own the experience, and cheerfully give them a new one.

What is the Purpose of a Strong Customer Service Vision?

A strong customer service vision rallies your troops! Introduced during customer service training, it is in place so your employees have a reason to get out of bed and run to work, knowing they make a difference by contributing to a world-class customer service experience. It is what can make you, like Starbucks, a leader in service.

For more information and resources on how to create a strong service vision for your organization, check out The Customer Service Revolution podcast. If you’d like to listen, head over to 013: Key Takeaways from Today’s Featured Leader: Howard Schultz – Part 2.

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.