As I write this, I'm sitting in a Starbucks, eating a protein plate that consists of a hard boiled egg, two triangles of cheddar cheese, some apples and grapes and a slab of muesli bread with a honey peanut butter spread. I'm sipping my trusty soy chai latte, and best of all… I'm on the internet, for free.
I've been in Starbucks a little more frequently lately since my dentist sent me a gift card as a thanks for referring a friend. While it will never be a substitute for one's favorite local coffee shop, I think they've made some great improvements to their customer experience:
1) Nutritional info. Calories are listed everywhere, on the menu, in the cold case. I'm not much of a calorie counter, but it does give you the option to make healthier choices.
2) Discounts and specials. If I buy a drink in the morning, they stamp my receipt with an invitation to come back in the afternoon for a $2 iced beverage. I've never gone back, but I've passed the coupon onto friends! They've also been tapping into the mobile market with coupons you can flash from your smartphone.
3) Free wireless. Did I mention free wireless? It's about time this was something freely available via this mega-chain. It's also nice to see their sign-in screen prominently featuring the City Year program – take a look.
I'm not normally much of a J.Crew shopper. They don't make clothes for girls shaped like me. However, I have always liked their swim collection given their variety of sizes for all body types.
This summer I decided to order … oh about 10 separate swim options. A few things happened during my experience that I consider worth noting:
1) Great Customer Service. One of my items was missing from my delivery. I called their customer service line and was quickly connected to helpful representative. I explained the situation, and no questions asked, she refunded my money for that item, then promptly placed a new order with free rush shipping so that I'd receive it in time for my vacation.
2) Easy Returns. As it turns out, after receiving all the suits, none of them fit how I liked, so I took them to their store. Even though they don't carry any swim, they take returns from any order placed online (unless it's a final sale). My return was lightning fast. A scan here, a scan there. Everything was in their system, I didn't even need to swipe my credit card.
As an fairly infrequent patron of both of these brands, I'm glad to take notice of the positive changes that they've introduced into their customer service and experience. It really does make a difference. Have you had any great brand experiences lately that surprised you?