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Foster Customer Devotion

Foster Customer Devotion

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Published by John Moore
A chapter from TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE about customer loyalty schemes.
A chapter from TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE about customer loyalty schemes.

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categoriesBusiness/Law, Finance
Published by: John Moore on Nov 06, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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John Moore,
TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Groundsof Starbucks Corporate Culture
(Kaplan, 2006). Pgs. 139 - 141
[ch] Tribal Truth #28Foster Customer Devotion.
“We’re not in the coffee business serving people. We’re in the people business serving coffee.”
 —Howard Behar former Starbucks executiveStarbucks has fostered loyalty beyond reason with its customers. Many of Starbucks customersare lovingly devoted to Starbucks the business and Starbucks the brand. To foster customer loyalty that borders on customer devotion, Starbucks follows an unwritten but business-innatemarketing mindset of enriching a customer’s life, not entrapping it.Most marketing activities from companies seeking to build customer loyalty are designedmore to capture customers than to captivate customers. “Preferred Shopper” cards fromsupermarkets, frequent flier miles from airlines, and lengthy service agreements from cellular companies all entrap us into being labeled “loyal customers” by companies. Most times, thesecustomer-loyalty schemes are based upon offering customers lower prices to gain greater loyalty.But loyalty isn’t earned by offering the lowest price. Businesses that gain sales solely by pricinglow are only as good as their latest, cheapest offer. As soon as a competitor can beat the price, allthose “loyal” customers will chuck their cards and shop elsewhere.These “Preferred Shopper” promotions also reverse the logic of great customer service:they ask customers to sign up for a card or buy a certain amount of product before they can enjoythe benefits of being part of the club. Do you really want to create two classes of customers? Onethat gets the “good stuff” at a good price, the other that gets a raw deal? If you want to foster truecustomer devotion, don’t make your customers jump through hoops just to feel welcome, or “preferred.”
John Moore,
TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Groundsof Starbucks Corporate Culture
(Kaplan, 2006). Pgs. 139 - 141
Businesses operating like this treat their customers like cattle, doing whatever they can toattract attention. When companies are more focused on their own bottom line than their customers, both will eventually fall away. These programs lack soul and meaning to stand thetest of time.Starbucks seeks to captivate (not capture) and enrich (not entrap) the lives of its customersthrough rewarding everyday moments. The company understands a great coffee moment can provide customers with hope, inspiration, and connectivity. A Starbucks coffee moment offerscustomers a semblance of hope in their cluttered lives. Many of Starbucks’ most devotedcustomers seek refuge from their workplace, their home life, and the daily commute in-between.To these customers, Starbucks is a place where they can go to regroup, reconnect, recharge, andrest.Coffee has been the fuel for creativity and inspiration since the 16
century. And in the 21
century, Starbucks provides customers with a modern-day place where their souls can benurtured and inspired on a daily basis.But the real customer devotional magic of Starbucks resides in the magic of how coffeeconnects. Coffee connects like no other beverage. It connects the morning to the night as manycustomers begin their day with a cup of Starbucks and end their day with a cup of decaf from thesame store. Coffee connects people with people, as many friendships begin and are continuouslynurtured over coffee. And just as important, a cup coffee enjoyed in solitude can connect onewith oneself.Customer loyalty works both ways, and Starbucks knows that. Of course Starbucks wantsto maintain its profitability, but it does this by helping the folks who come into its stores, not byworking against them. If you want customers to stay loyal to you, stay loyal to your customers— treat them as people, help them as individuals, offer them something extra, and they’ll come back for more.

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