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Starbucks: Delivering Customer Service

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“Starbucks: Delivering Customer Service”, Harvard Business School Case (2004)

1. The target customers were the affluent, well educated, white collar patrons (skewed female) between the age of 25 to 44. Their needs and values were to relax from their work and their family, having whole beans and premium priced coffee beverages by the cup that’s to say a coffee of quality. They want to be unique and recognized.

2. The consumption pattern associated with Starbucks patronage during the early 1990 is relaxing away from work and family, enjoying a coffee of quality in this America’s “third place”. The brand image Starbucks cultivates during this period is a provider of high quality coffee, coming from the best coffee making countries (Africa, Central and South America, and Asia Pacific region), a good service close to the customer, and a special atmosphere: inviting environment which attracts people and makes them want to stay long. Starbucks’ key brand promise is having a special experience around the consumption of coffee: “live coffee”.

3. Several factors accounted for the extraordinary success of Starbucks in the early 1990. First, his success is based on his extended distribution strategy: the many stores are present in high traffic and high visibility places and Starbucks sells his coffee through third parties partners, as non-company-operated retail channel, international licensed stores, grocery stores and warehouse club. Moreover, Starbucks cares about their employees, called “partners”: they give them health insurance, stock options, good training, promotion, which makes the employees satisfied and the turnover rate low. Finally, the service delivered answers customer’s needs: the employees, who are training well, are really pleasant with their customers, and offer them the possibility to…...

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