New year’s resolutions had me reconsidering my daily routines. In the past, I listened to music and podcasts, which inspired me. I guess there was a turning point that I just stopped listening to anything all together. Sometimes I even just put my headphones in without listening to anything. I needed to find that spark to inspire my workflow again and challenge my brain with something other than work.
I came across this podcast called “How I Built This”, which reminded me how much I enjoy listening to podcasts. From NPR, the creator, Guy Raz, interviews innovators, entrepreneurs, idealists, and talks about the movements they built in our world. I’ve been listening to one episode per day, and found that I enjoy taking the episode and thinking beyond it.
Usually with podcasts, I like to listen from the beginning to see how the podcast grows. Since there wasn’t a storyline with “How I Built This” I decided to start with an episode from September featuring Howard Schultz, who is the executive chairman and former CEO of Starbucks.
I never actually thought about the backstory of Starbucks, and how it became so big. To me, Starbucks was the caffeine and wifi that powered me and my workload while I was in grad school, providing a very “same same but different” experience no matter which location I went to. Listening to Schultz talk about the obstacles they overcame made me wonder 1 — how much coffee do they need to power coffee, considering how much I was drinking to power me through school and 2 — they were only human!
Upon thinking beyond the episodes of “How I Built This”, I started to think about the User Experience that Starbucks provides. Between the product they are selling, the store, and the application — so many moving parts need to be considered to unify the experience used by so many different people.
When Schultz talked about the rapid growth of Starbucks, he said
“the experience, which had defined the essence of the company, was being compromised by efficiency”.
Although this led to a lot of closed stores and money loss, he was willing to take a step back and realign, in order to fit the goals of the essence of the company — the experience, which Schultz worked to build.
The customer experience strategy focuses all Starbucks locations having the same things:
- Product and Brand
- Happy Employees
By implementing a similar experience at each location, customers become familiar with the Starbucks system, which makes it easy to use! Having a good system comes from understanding your users and applying it to provide the best experience! Extending that experience through the Starbucks App allows users to use mobile ordering that allows efficiency for the customer while maintaining the flow in the store.
This podcast definitely gave me the inspiration I was looking for to challenge my mind and make me think. I enjoy analyzing user experiences, so it was interesting to learn where the brand started and connect it to the customer experience they provide.