Convenience Store News

JAN 2017

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94 Convenience Store News | JANUARY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM EXPERT'S VIEW and distinct customer zones. Being able to dissect the drive-thru into key customer operating zones helped Starbucks think through and identify many different improvement opportunities. New zone-specific strategies were developed for the different customer zones. Communications and messaging were now cognizant of customer needs, attitudes and behaviors, and were tailored to meet spe- cific, zone-appropriate business objectives. These changes alone made a big difference in sales performance and customer satisfaction that exceeded expectations. But Starbucks didn't stop once they had optimized their zone-specific customer messaging. They set out to identify what else they could do to deliver to their drive-thru customers a superior and memorable experience like their customers enjoy inside the store. That took some creative ideation, focusing on clearly understanding their drive-thru customer needs and even inventing new technological solutions. What follows are a few examples: • The "Digital Barista." The key element in replicat- ing Starbucks' interior customer experience at the drive-thru is the addition of a 46-inch digital screen that allows customers to interact live via two- way video with the baristas who serve them. The innovative digital display also serves as an order confirmation communicator, and promotes (in real time) available bakery items and suggest-sell pro- motions to increase incidence of food attachment to beverage orders. Customers love it, particularly the unique ability to see and chat with their barista. The "digital barista" illustrates another object les- son that is less obvious. It capitalizes on Starbucks' greatest asset: its people, and their engagement with customers. This is an insight and opportunity that would have never surfaced from a typical research study on the drive-thru. • Branded Wayfinding at the Drive-Thru. Customers had difficulty identifying Starbucks stores that had drive-thrus, and smoothly navigating through them. To alleviate this, Starbucks added unique branded signage with chevron arrows and "Starbucks green" pavement stripes to help customers quickly find and easily navigate the drive-thru. • Optimized Customer Communications. One area of significant opportunity — increased food sales at the drive-thru — was initially imperiled by an internal cultural concern that images of food on the menuboard would cheapen the Starbucks image. But positive customer feedback and test Addressing these questions is testament to a market leader willing to change in order to generate signifi- cant and meaningful improvement. Starbucks asked King-Casey to evaluate the drive- thrus and make recommendations. The first step was to conduct an audit and assessment of the drive-thrus, looking at them through the lens of their customers and utilizing King-Casey's COZI (Customer Operating Zone Improvement) methodology. King-Casey was accompa- nied on the audits by a small team of Starbucks execu- tives to whom the results were eye-opening. By the third site visit, the Starbucks team was lead- ing the audit, pointing out how little consideration was being given to their customers at the drive-thru (e.g., "There aren't even any signs to indicate where the drive-thru is."). The audit provided the first "aha" moment for Starbucks — that their drive-thru was something more than just order and pickup points. The COZI audits enabled Starbucks to hone in on meaningful solutions. COZI is a methodology that treats stores not just as branded retail boxes. Each store is actually a collection of many individual "customer operating zones," with customers behaving differently in each one. Their needs and expectations are different. Their attitudes and mindsets are different. Each of these unique zones is right for one communications and mer- chandising strategy, and dead-wrong for another. In this case, Starbucks needed to identify each of their drive-thru zones. These included: approach, entry, pre-order, order, pickup and pay, and exit. Following the identification of zones, Starbucks need- ed to understand how their customers behave in each zone, what their needs are, and then establish specific business and improvement goals for each zone. CUSTOMER-CENTRIC SOLUTIONS Customer zones was a breakthrough moment for Starbucks. Instead of thinking about the drive-thru as a whole, Starbucks started thinking about the different "Pickup and pay" is one of the Starbucks drive-thru customer zones.

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