According to the article, an online poll of 1,567 people found that of the 62 per cent of consumers who regularly visit one of the four main coffee shop brands, 16 per cent actively avoid Starbucks.
I admit to having a soft spot for Starbucks because, although I confess to not being a big coffee drinker, I have had very positive first-hand experience of the organisation after hearing Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, speak at an event on leadership in London. I later wrote to him describing how my son’s first request on waking up after a hospital operation was for a Starbucks Java chip coffee-based Frappuccino. I was a complete stranger, yet Cliff personally replied to my emails, as well as arranging for a a box of goodies to be posted to me, including a coffee maker, several coffee samples. chocolate bars, mugs and a £20 Starbucks voucher for my son.
As a result, when PR Week was researching its article on Starbucks, it contacted me because my blog posts on this subject came up high on their Google search of the organisation. They asked me to contribute my experiences, and this is what I wrote:
"How many presidents of global organisations find the time to write to complete strangers? And to respond in a warm and genuine way? That was certainly my experience after emailing Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
I forwarded him a link to my blog post describing how my son’s first request on waking up after an operation was for a Starbucks Java chip coffee-based Frappuccino, as I thought he might find it amusing. I admitted my ignorance at the coffee names and he said he would educate me. Shortly after I received a box of goodies, including a coffee maker, chocolate bars, mugs and a £20 Starbucks voucher for my son.
I am delighted to see that conversations on blogosphere are being monitored and that organisations are responding.
Organisations should respond to all comments, even negative ones. It would be great if Starbucks provided internet access to a corporate blog on all its premises for customers to express their views. What a great way – and an inexpensive one – for it to get valuable feedback.
Should I email Cliff about this idea?"