Posts Tagged 'customer experience'

Starbucks’ Cause Marketing & CSR: Two Views

Starbucks logoGenerally speaking, we like Starbucks corporate style, and we’ve given them a few shoutouts in previous posts for providing a good example in cause-related marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR). But, like many companies, they haven’t always met our expectations in every area. So, to balance the perspective, we’re reblogging a post that offers potentially another view of Starbucks. This doesn’t mean we’ve changed our view of Starbucks; we still think the company’s miles ahead of most companies in social listening, social marketing, and CSR. But, fair is fair, and we  provide this post to keep you informed to make up your own mind. Let us know what you think.

“It is with interest that I saw with the US Government shut down continuing in Washington D.C. that Starbucks have started a campaign to facilitate change in our Nation’s capital. They are offering a free coffee to anyone who buys their fellowman their favourite drink in one of their stores.

My initial thought was this was good and I was pleased they cared enough about this issue to start this promotion. I considered that this shows their social responsibility by getting involved and trying to help… or are they?”

Read more Starbucks: Real Concern or Just Good Marketing?

And, in case you haven’t encountered it yet, here’s an AdWeek write-up of Starbucks’ latest campaign.

More Organizational Storytelling and PR from Ford Motor Company

PRDoctorChicago is all about Communications experiences, insights
and lessons learned from pros.

A few months ago, we wrote about organizational storytelling and kicked off the post with an incredibly forward-thinking quote by Henry Ford on communications and business. Ford Motor Company’s approach to communications and its outreach to customers has been making news again.

The article below by Ashley Zeckman on TopRank Online Marketing Blog serves as a timely update, offering myriad lessons to communicators on such tough topics as marketing, branding, consumer engagement, marketing mix, social media content, etc. Check it out for some “deep” lessons learned …

  Scott Monty on How Ford Empowers Customer Storytelling                        & Lessons Learned

“As marketers we all know that storytelling is an essential part of connecting with prospects and customers. Scott Monty (@scottmonty) and his team at Ford have taken the art of storytelling a step further.

In his moving (yes I said moving) keynote, Scott walked the audience through some of Ford’s most recent and innovative campaigns. In many of these campaigns the story is told not from the perspective of Ford, but from that of the consumer. Below you’ll find more about the stories of these campaigns, the people who told them, and the lessons learned.”

Continue reading …

Aligning Customer Experience with PR & Marketing

It should go without saying that customer experience should be aligned with public relations and marketing objectives. Yet, it appears it doesn’t go without saying, or at the very least, it bears repeating often: Your customer service and customer experience should be aligned with your PR & marketing. If it isn’t, you’re not going to be able to fully leverage the dollars and time invested in the latter, and the expenditure will pretty much go for naught.

In our communications work, we’ve frequently seen that an overlooked aspect of public relations is direct customer service: What is the disposition of and training provided to front-line, customer-facing staff? If not addressed appropriately, this can become a significant public relations issue.

We shared in a recent conversation with colleagues, and here’s a list of customer service problems (potential PR problems) we experienced during just the past week. (If any of the following scenarios ring too familiar, it’s probably time to direct some time and energy to internal communication rather than external communication.)

Common Customer Service Problems

1) Faux or ingratiating politeness, as a cover for poor or unethical business practices.

-We encountered this at a national chain retail tire shop, where the agent engaged in lengthy and friendly chat to blatantly upsell* a client. This went on for some 20 minutes, as incoming customers did a slow burn. When it came our turn, the estimate for replacing a flat tire ballooned to $1,200 in recommended service charges and fees.

2) Employee Attitude #1: “We know you’re waiting in line, but we have 8 hours to fill”:

This occurred at a neighborhood bank, where customers stood in a growing line awaiting the next of only two available tellers. The two employees, meantime, chatted breezily with each other and with their “favorite” customers, pretty much unconcerned about less-favored customers still waiting on line.

3) Employee Attitude #2: “I don’t care, I only work here”– a total lack of concern or engagement with customers or their needs:

-As we talked about this, we had all experienced this more times than we care to remember: The wait staff who can’t answer basic questions about items on the menu and who, worse yet, seems to be annoyed by any question; the check-out clerk or hostess who appears oblivious to any perceived order among the line of people waiting for attention; one staff even experienced asking an employee the address of a business they were standing in (while trying to navigate herself to her appointed destination), only to be told, unbelievably, that the employee didn’t know.

4) Blatant lying to customers, about stock, delivery, service promises, return policies, etc.:

-Need we say more?

Where Do We Go From Here?

No doubt you’ve experienced at least one of the situations we’ve described. While we’re all for politeness—every customer in every business should expect nothing less. From a PR standpoint, we also know that nothing is more grating or counterproductive than feigned politeness or engagement lacking authenticity. Quite the contrary, either, in the face of deceptive, shoddy, unethical or simply poor service, is only likely to cause greater aggravation.

Yes, we know positive engagement is a two-way street; that, often, dealing with the public can be challenging, and sometimes seemingly thankless. Yet too often within organizations front-facing staff issues are not given the same attention as the latest marketing or PR campaign. But when the above, or other examples of bad customer service, become the signature of a business or an organization, virtually no amount of mass media outreach will undo the damage left by bad experiences. As we all know, the people who greet customers at the door, answer phones, ring up customer purchases. staff the reception or service desk, take customer orders or stock the store shelves are a company’s first line of PR offense. Let’s make sure they know it!

*Sell goods or services beyond what’s actually needed; in this case, car repairs

Follow prdoctorchicago on


Follow me on Twitter