The evolution of the customer experience
With product competition coming from all angles—local cafes to Dunkin’ revamping its espresso—Starbucks sees a path forward by bolstering its in-store experience and heritage as a “third-place” experience. This has been a focal point in past quarters as the chain looks to harness its digital flywheel and customers in fresh ways. And not just those loyal members of its robust rewards base.
Here are some key initiatives Starbucks laid out during the conference:
Repurposing employees’ time spent on administrative tasks to enhance customer engagement with the goal of improving capacity and throughput.
Deploying technology to automate inventory planning and replenishment by improving accuracy and efficiency of work routines.
Optimizing the company’s real estate footprint and store renovation strategy to deliver the next generation of the third place and drive higher financial returns.
On this first note, of repurposing employees’ time, Starbucks said in Q3 it wanted to cut 50 percent of current in-store administrative tasks by the end of the year, with the expectation of unlocking 2–3 hours daily for employees to focus on customer experience. Last updated, Starbucks said it freed up to one-and-half hours per day of non-customer facing tasks to customer-facing activity, depending on the store. One example provided was the initiation of automated inventory in 32 stores for all food products. Starbucks assigned a team to address dense urban market performance with New York as the initial target. It also rolled out training to build leadership.
“And we're starting to see this work pay off. Our customer connection scores, which includes ratings on cleanliness and speed of service, in Q4 showed improvement across all dayparts and regions with September ending at an all-time high,” Roz Brewer, Starbucks’ chief operating officer said in October.