How Loyal Are Starbucks Customers?

Starbucks changed its loyalty program, which is causing some backlash from customers. So I decided to examine our data on the loyalty of US consumers to the coffee shop giant.

My take: As you can see below, Starbucks ranks 23rd out of 293 companies in the 2015 Temkin Loyalty Index.


Starbuck’s loyalty ranks 5th out of 22 fast food chains, only falling behind Chick-fil-A, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Panera Bread, and Papa John’s. When I examined the detailed loyalty levels of the 22 fast food chains, Starbucks ends up:

  • 3rd in likelihood to repurchase
  • Tied for 4th in likelihood to forgive after a mistake
  • Tied for 6th in trustability
  • 7th in likelihood of customer to recommend
  • Tied for 7th in likelihood to try new products

Starbucks’ strongest area of loyalty is the repurchasing of its customers. Hopefully for the coffee giant, consumers will grow to like its new loyalty program. But the company needs to watch what happens very carefully, and make changes if the backlash continues. Otherwise, it risks affecting one of its strongest assets: customers who buy its coffee over and over again.

The bottom line: Loyalty is harder to earn than it is to lose.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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