Managing customers’ expectations and satisfaction levels

Clearly, no business can ever survive without customers. Thus, it is important that any company with an aim of being successful in its business operations has to satisfy its customers in order to retain them and probably get new ones. To achieve this, companies are forced to create a good working relationship with its customers, to know their expectations and endeavour to satisfy these expectations. However, this is a great challenge to many companies since, each customer has different physically and psychological needs which determines his/her expectations from the same company.

Consequently, different customers will have different expectations regarding the same company. As such it requires extra efforts from a company to be able to satisfy its customers. Customer satisfaction According to Joby (2003) he describes customers’ satisfaction as a gauge used to assess how an organization’s products or services meets or exceeds the expectations of customers. This is seen as crucial indictor in a business and can be used as a scorecard of the performance of the business. In the current competitive marketplace, customer satisfaction is increasingly becoming a key aspect in competitive strategy.

This report is going to analyze Starbucks Corporation on how it manages customer satisfaction and expectations. Company selected: Starbucks Corporation Starbucks Corporation is a big multinational coffee and coffeehouse chain/outlet company which is based in United States. Starbucks currently is the biggest coffeehouse company in the whole world, with a record number of 15,011 stores located in 42 countries. Starbucks sells brewed coffee, espresso-based hot drinks, hot and also cold drinks, snacks and products for instance, mugs and coffee beans.
Starbucks has an entertainment division; Hear Music brand. Starbucks also markets music, books and film. A lot of these items are seasonal or specific to the locality of the store. Some grocery stores sell Starbucks branded ice cream and coffee. (Starbucks Corporation, 2007) My expectation Starbucks is reputed for premium cup of coffee, and any customer walking into Starbucks stores expects first class service and high quality coffee. Thus, I expected the same and more in terms of quick service, respect, excellent snacks, good ambiance and variety of good hot drinks.
Why I expected that from Starbucks The customer expectations come from the fact that, Starbucks positions its products based upon quality and its image. Starbucks Corporation created the coffee shop revolution in America, and it has had the capacity to be the public instructor on espresso coffee. Starbucks coffeehouse chain is the leading specialty of coffee retailer in the America, with many locations in around the globe. Basing on these facts, any customer going to Starbucks will expect high quality service and innovative products and services.
How Starbucks delivers it services in relation to the customer’s expectations Starbucks Corporation has clearly stated guidelines which are followed and uses them as a direction device for the future of the company business. Among these guidelines two of them clearly show that the company strives to satisfy its customer’s expectations; these are stated as: 1. Relate the utmost standards of quality when making a purchase, roasting and delivering of our coffee. 2. Develop passionately satisfied customers at all the time. Before arriving: The company staffs is welcoming and approachable
The company staffs are friendly and very approachable, even when you call them you can easily “hear their smiles on the phone”. The company stresses courtesy, this makes one feel as if already he/she is a friend of the company or the employees, and definitely, one becomes satisfied with the services before even being offered the services. After arriving Starbucks Corporation is highly interested in retaining the old customers and capturing new ones. To achieve this, the staffs ensure that the customer is well served and enjoy his/her time at Starbucks.
I was thus, asked by the employees how much I enjoyed my coffee and if there was an area I wished should be improved. In general Starbucks shows a lot of attention to customers even after serving them. Assessing customer satisfaction In order for Starbucks to know how well it responding to customer needs it has to have ways and methods of evaluating its measures or services in relations to customers expectations. Hermon, et al (1999) noted that, customer satisfaction is abstract and vague; one customer may be satisfied with the company services while another may be dissatisfied with the same services.
Thus, it is not easy to have a specific outcome but normally a general viewpoint can be reached upon, regarding variables such as quality, timeliness, value, and efficiency of the company to provide its services. Hermon, et al (1999) Starbucks Corporation has undertaken measuring and assessing its customer satisfaction so as to obtain a clue of how efficient and successful its customer’s satisfaction programs are. To this end, the company has undertaken the following way: Interviews
The company carries out interviews, this is done through customers being offered questionnaires physically or online which they fill and email back. The company then assess the responses of the customers and makes the necessary improvements where possible to improve its general customer satisfaction. Additional information is provided on the questionnaires regarding customers’ expectations of the company. Collecting information and not using it wound be of any benefit, Starbucks Corporation has realized this and try to implement realistic and achievable customer satisfaction measures.
After collecting information on customer satisfaction, the company then, examines and find out the most significant aspects raised by the customers. The aspects are then passed to relevant sections that then discuss over them and outline how to incorporate these aspects in the product process or services delivery. One of the ways Starbucks assesses its customers’ satisfaction is through Non linear way shown in the appendix. Starbucks’ ways of ensuring customer satisfaction A clear customer policy is outlined by the company, this save a lot of time and trouble for the customer.
The policies are defined in a sense that if a customer has any trouble customer care desk is available where the customer can report his complains or troubles, and the customer care personnel has a full responsibility of solving the customer complaints to best of his/her ability. If the problem is too big them the store manager is called upon to sort out the customer. For example if the customer is complaining about the quality of food order then he is given a new order can be made.
If the complain is about the duration taken to deliver an order, then time can be reduced if it is possible, if not possible then the customer is informed to wait. Evenson (2005) observes that, customers becomes very annoyed if no body is there to attend to their complaints or the customer is moved round and round to different people without any clear assistance. Training Starbucks Corporation training can be termed as systematic enhancement of knowledge, skills and attitudes of the needed by an employee in order to perform a given task. Development is the growth of an employee in terms of capability, understanding and awareness.
In Starbucks Corporation training and development has helped the company to increase efficiency, effectiveness and standards of performance by the employee and to recognize the customer needs and expectations and be able to fulfil them. (Hoovers. com, 2007) Being customer oriented Starbucks is Customer orientated and in order to ensure that it keeps the customers satisfied it ensures that, customer requirements and satisfaction are the main concern of a company. Customer orientation centres on dynamic relations between the customers and the company together with the internal stakeholders of the company.
Customer orientation entails continuous improvement of business processes. According to Gronroos (2000) it is results are viewed from the customer view point. Starbucks puts a lot of importance on listening to the customers, for example, trying to understand want type of an item can best be helpful to the customer. There are seven main attitudes that strongly indicate that Starbucks is customer oriented, this are: • Thinking and also taking more about customers • Continually analyzing the company customers’ perceptions • Determining priority aspects in basing on favouring the customer
• Making corrections to customers when poorly treated • Giving in for or adding value because of the customer • Using “whatever it takes” strategy to satisfy any special needs of the customer • Redesigning procedures, re-organizing resources if they hinder service delivery (Gronroos, 2000) Customer care team and quality assurance team The company invests over a lot of money each year to make sure that quality set standards fundamental to the company brands are maintained using a quality support network that is deployed on the ground to check on the company’s coffee stores located in different countries.
Starbucks also have expert teams available for customers; these experts ensure that products are supplied and also maintained within first-class conditions. The company work according to standards set in the industry; the control standards include all features of quality. (Fortune. com, 2002) Quality assurance Starbucks Corporation has a technical support team which visits over 15,011 stores located in 42 countries regularly. The team is involved in ensuring that quality and set standards are maintained and consumers continue to enjoy a steady experience irrespective of the location where the company brands are purchased from.
The company also has created a customer contact centre which is available for all consumers which provides various support to the customers from taking customer orders to providing information on all company activities. (Fortune. com, 2002) Conclusion Customer satisfaction is vital for the success of a company, with ever increasing competition on the market those company that focus on customer satisfaction and customer expectations have chances of maintaining and even improving their customer base.
As Schachter (2006) states, enhancing customer satisfaction is a process that calls for various approaches. Starbucks Corporation has put a lot of effort in customer satisfaction to reach where it is; however, more efforts need to be done especially in assessment of customer requirement to get proper and accurate data which can be used to implement correct measures of improving quality in accordance to customer expectations. Reference: Evenson, R. (2005): Customer Service Training 101: Quick and easy techniques that get great results: New York; AMACOM.
Fortune. com (2002): Best Companies to Work For: Retrieved 27/4/2008 on the World Wide Web: http://www. fortune. com/lists/bestcompanies .
Gronroos, C. (2000): Service Management and Marketing; A Customer Relationship Management Approach, Second Edition, Wiley, New York Hermon, P. ; Nitecki, D. ; Danuta, A. ; & Altman, E. (1999): Service quality and customer satisfaction; an assessment and future directions; Journal of Business management Hoovers. com. (2007): Starbucks services; Retrieved 10 February, 2008 on the World Wide Web: http://www. hoovers. com Joby, J (2003): Fundamentals of Customer Focused Management: Competing Through Service International Marketing Review 21, no. 1 Lawrence, J and Carl, D (2005): The Future of Business: The Essentials, Essex, and Pearson Education Sanders, B. (1995): Fabled service: ordinary acts; extraordinary outcomes; San Francisco; Jossey-Bass Schachter, D. (2006): The true value of customer service: Information Outlook, 10(8) Starbucks Corporation, (2007): Retrieved 27/4/2008 on the World Wide Web: http://www. starbucks. com Appendix
The analysing way used by Starbucks to measure customer satisfaction; Non linear This technique shows that loyalty of a customer does not rise linearly but it rises exponentially in relation to performance of the aspect Customers ranking their experiences to 5, are in most cases more loyal than those ranking their experience to 4. This are aspects of ranking are termed as “satisfaction enhancing” aspects. Starbucks monitors and takes actions in order to raise the percentage of these aspects in the box. (Diagrams courtesy of Customer sat. com (2002)

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