Anyone that knows me professionally understands that there are three critial components to my business success that I am truly passionate about:

1. My customer

2. My candidate

3. My morning Starbucks Venti Latte

So, you can imagine the heartbreak when I heard the news…

600 planned Starbucks closures!!!!!

“In January, we committed to transforming the company through a series of critical and strategic initiatives to improve the current state of our U.S. business and build the business for the long term,” stated Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO.

What???

In shock I googled for more….

I read:

“Howard D. Schultz, has retaken the reins in an effort to revive it. Mr. Schultz said he wants to refocus on the ‘customer experience,’ recapturing some of the magic of the chain’s early years, when employees — who had heard the term barista before Starbucks came along? — made the drinks by hand and customers were excited by top-notch coffee.”

“Customer experience” stood out in my mind.

Companies don’t talk as much about the “customer experience” lately. Profits, profit margins, revenue, cost cuts, consolidations seem to be foremost on agendas… not many are talking about the “customer experience”.

During a visit to “my” Starbucks, I asked the barista about the status of the store. I was assured that this would not affect this location. Relieved that my “customer experience” would be okay, but it got me thinking about it about what the “customer experience” really means.

I came from the school of “the customer is always right. And when the customer is wrong, the customer is always right.” Customer satisfaction has always been a key part of my business success.

Years ago, I worked for the software services company UniDirect (now Rainmaker Systems RMKR). The most remarkable thing about the company was it’s leader, CEO, Berni Jubb.

Berni Jubb insisted on the importance of “breaking a rule in order to make the customer happy.” Customer satisfaction was #1 in his business vision regardless of what the rules told us employees to do.

Berni Jubb currently owns the Pura Vida hotel in Costa Rica. His little hotel is almost always full year round. If you ask his employees they will all tell you that he insists they do whatever it takes to ensure a happy customer. Even breaking the rules.

Berni Jubb’s staff is mystified by his demand, but this “customer experience” shows with Pura Vida’s consisten and thriving clientele.

So tell me, what does the “customer experience” mean to you? Is it an important part of the way you run your business?

I’d love to hear….

Views: 63

Comment by lalitmawkin on August 3, 2008 at 10:28am
Hi Heather,nice post and very passionate one--I rember my days working with GEmedical and customer service was at the very top--I used to stay in sheraton hotel at singapore which always stood first on customer service and I stayed there again and again and without any complaint--regards
Comment by Kathy on December 15, 2008 at 10:15am
Hi Heather! I am new to the site and was looking through blogs. I came across yours and have enjoyed reading them! I am, too, a huge Starbucks loving girl! Guest Experience is the only truth in the hospitality biz.
Comment by Heather Gardner on December 15, 2008 at 11:23am
@kathy - thanks for the comment Kathy and welcome to the recruiting blogs!

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