Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Starbucks Experience

I've just written a letter to Starbucks. I'm hoping there will be more smiles in their branches as a result of my letter. And maybe a wider coffee selection too.

Dear Starbucks Coffee Company

I am in a state of mild distress and brand disappointment at the moment and I'm hoping very much that you can help.

While I was in New York I very much fell in love with the Cinnamon Dolce Latte drink. I found it to be wonderful, warming, sweet and it had a comforting quality about it.

Imagine the jolt back down to earth I received when, on arrival back in the UK, I walked into the Starbucks in Old Market Square, Nottingham to be told in a sharp, surly tone "We don't do Cinnamon Dolce Latte". I was looked at as if I'd sneezed in one of your frappucinos!

Here's the "thing". About two years ago I read "The Starbucks Experience" by Michelli. What I read about your brand I loved. It was all things I felt a modern brand should be. However since moving to Nottingham I have found my local Cafe Nero is better at delivering your high standards of customer service than your Old Market Square branch. Despite the Fareham branch I used to frequent being friendly, on about 50% of my visits to Old Market Square, Nottingham, I've barely been noticed let alone given the time of day. Within a week of defecting, however, Nero knew my drink of choice and my name.

In New York, I was served with speed and with courtesy. I was told if my drink wasn't right they'd happily make it again. I felt your US branches of Starbucks valued the customer. In Nottingham, I occasionally feel like I'm being 'served' but certainly never feel special. I wouldn't bother telling you all this, but given how "The Starbucks Experience" is like a bible to the joy of customer service, I thought you might want to know how I feel as someone who has previously been loyal to your company and who now tends to visit a rival.

Even if you decide to continue with your policy of not serving the Cinnamon Dolce Latte, which is a severe disappointment to me, and a danger to my cinnamon deficiency (which I'm certain the doctor will diagnose in the next few days), I do hope that your staff will be able to make me feel a little more welcome in the future should I decide to defect from Nero on occasion.

Yours in the name of coffee and harmony