Tall, 2-pump vanilla, soy, light foam latte.
Every time I walk into Starbucks, I have the same embarrassingly complex order. And every time, they greet me with a smile and cheerfully customize my drink without flinching, and sometimes without me even having to ask.
“They really know what I like,” I think to myself.
And it’s with that simple, inexplicable fuzzy feeling of “they really know what I like” that marks my long-term partnership with these brands.
So how is it a brand like Starbucks can take large volumes of unstructured data (one’s order history, credit card information, loyalty card programs, geolocation preferences, etc.) and still manage to create a single customer experience that makes me feel like a human being and not just another transaction?
Understanding the Customer Experience
The average Starbucks customer visits the store 6 times per month while loyal customers go 16 times per month (source: Business Insider). And Starbucks is not cheap! So why do people choose brands like Starbucks over the cheaper brand or the closer brand? Because they know that they will have a consistent experience almost every, single time. Brands that take the time to dissect and understand customer information ultimately helps create a more seamless experience. For example, Starbucks recently launched an app in Portland called the Mobile Order & Pay, which allows their customers to place their orders using their mobile phone and upon their arrival, a warm cup of coffee will be waiting for them. By using this type of app, brands can further understand customer preferences, which ultimately determines customizable programs resulting in higher retention and brand loyalty.
Making Their Employees Happy
Employees are the first line of brand ambassadors and it’s vital to understand their needs as well. Companies that cater to their employees, whether it be providing college tuition or providing health insurance or freezing eggs, builds brand loyalty from the ground up. Using big data to understand their staff and their needs is a critical piece to creating an overall positive customer experience.
Capitalizing on the Little Things
Big data helps brands unmask their customers with algorithms, factors, equations, etc. But the way to really think about this is that big data is an aggregate of your customer’s small moments. My dress was the wrong size, I had to wait on hold for almost 10 minutes to fix my ticketing issues, I emailed client support and nobody ever emailed me back. The accumulation of these insights can truly help a brand change the way they do business and whittle down their big data into small, meaningful moments for customers.