Starbucks Searches For Its Soul

In today’s New York Times, there’s an article called Starbucks Takes a 3-Hour Coffee Break which talks about Starbucks’ efforts to reinvigorate its customer experience.

In its campaign to revive the intimate, friendly feel of a neighborhood coffee shop, Starbucks orchestrated the closing of 7,100 of its American stores at precisely 5:30 p.m. for a three-hour retraining session for employees. 

This is part of Howard Schultz’s effort to “regain the soul of the past” and improve the experience of Starbucks customers. (FYI, Howard Schultz was recently reappointed as CEO).

My take: Interestingly, I used the following quote from Howard Schultz in my post called “Firms Need Some Soul Searching

Customers must recognize that you stand for something

It’s clear that Starbucks, one of the poster-children of the experience economy, no longer clearly stands for something. How did it happen? Unfortunately, the firm went down a path that I’ve discussed in the past — letting its thirst for profits replace its clear purpose. It’s a very tempting path that many companies go down, especially in an economic downturn. So be forewarned.

The bottom line: If it can happen to Starbucks, then it can happen to you.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

3 thoughts on “Starbucks Searches For Its Soul”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.