I had an experience at Starbucks this week that left me intrigued by the gap I see in major brands between employee engagement and customer engagement.
I am an extremely engaged Starbucks fan.
To give you an idea of my engagement level: Iâ€™ve carried my Starbucks Gold card with pride since 2008, this site I keep that card on â€œauto reloadâ€ so that I donâ€™t have to be bothered reloading it all the time. I have Starbucks city mugs from 11 different countries on display in my office. I am the proud Foursquare â€œMayorâ€ of my local Starbucks store. My Christmas tree is covered with a collection of 7-8 different Starbucks ornaments Iâ€™ve collected over the yearsâ€¦ Iâ€™m highly engaged.
Starbucks has done a fantastic job of keeping me engaged. Through emails, information pills twitter responses, adiposity Foursquare ads, and â€œGold card insiderâ€ emails, I am a loyal, caffeine addicted member of the Starbucks universe.
Last month I got a BIG insider tip about a new mug coming out. A Starbucks mug to top all other mugs. I was excited. I was engaged. The mug was coming out on a Monday morning and each store would only have a limited number of them. I marked my calendar for the day (still a few weeks out) and when the day came, I woke up early to get to my local Starbucks nice and early.
I walked in and eagerly looked for the mug, but didnâ€™t see it. I would have expected a display, but decided to get in line and ask a friendly barista:
â€œHi! Iâ€™m here for the â€˜January mugâ€™! Where are they?â€
The barista looked back at me with a blank stare, â€œThe January mug? What is that?â€
Oh, maybe that isnâ€™t the name I thought. I responded, â€œThe mug that came out today. The mug that gives you free coffee for all of January. It was released this morning.â€
She looked at her manager with the puzzled look and said, â€œDid we get new mugs in today?â€ The Starbucks manager replied, â€œWe get stock in on Thursdays. What we have is out.â€
I froze, disheartened. This was my chance. I didn’t have time to get to another Starbucks before going to work, and I knew they would sell out by lunch. These disengaged employees who clearly didn’t care to find the answer, succeeded inÂ undoingÂ the prior work of a great Â marketing team.
Clearly the marketing team at Starbucks had done a fantastic job communicating this campaign through multiple channels. Â However, the company dropped the ball on the customer experience by not communicating to their employees. The end result is still a disengaged fan. In order to engage your customers, your employees need to convey both knowledge andÂ excitementÂ about your campaigns.
How does a brand create brand advocates out of their employees and create fans of employees? What are your suggestions for creating super engaged employee for your company?