Coffee Wars Part Two
Okay, it looks like the “infamous Starbucks memo of 2007” is still shaking up the blogosphere.
To which I responded:
Great post! I hope you’ll forgive me if I tend to agree with Doc Searls on this one, however.
Specifically, you commented that “The soul and its shape and quality affects that product in some way, though I would argue that even soulless companies can provide a wonderful experience.”
I would agree that a “soulless” company may be able to create a wonderful product, but I think that it’s the soul of the company that makes a great experience, and without it, that “wonderful product” will come and go quickly. I think this will be seen even clearer as we move toward a more and more “relationship marketing” environment.
Starbucks had the unique position of being the first to produce and market their product in the way they did, but as time progresses and more and more companies follow in their footsteps, it’s their “soul” (or lack of it) that is going to determine their continued success.
Starbucks “product” is not coffee. I can get coffee almost anywhere these days, in qualities equal to or greater than they offer. Starbucks product is the experience I have from the time I walk through the door until the time I leave, and that, sadly, is becoming more and more soulless.
A friend of mine likes to say, “you don’t make broth, it’s what comes out when the meat’s cooked” ie: the natural by product of the process.
If Starbuck’s “soul” is to create a great customer experience, while at the same time providing great coffee…this is what will come out. If it’s just pouring as many cups as they can, then their in trouble, as there are countless others who are willing to provide the former.
Sadly, my experience with Starbucks has leaned more and more towards the latter.
As far as your symphony reference, I would question how much greater the experience would be if its members were not treated poorly, and how it compares with those who aren’t.
The level of customer experience provided in SPITE of a soul is never going to compare with great customer service that flows naturally from the company’s ideals and mission (or it’s “soul” if you prefer.)
End o’ post
I think the bigger issue here, however, is the question: Can companies, with or without “souls” create a coffee cup lid that won’t splash boiling coffee on my important bits?
What do you think?
(about the post, not my bits, I get plenty of emails about that already…)