Sometimes, It’s the Little Things That Make the Biggest Difference

Starbucks wasn’t the first place to let customers buy something on-line and pick it up in-store. However, they’ve done a good job of integrating the new service into their operations. The details have been engineered into an amazingly simple experience that makes it easy on customers—and easy on the baristas.

starbucks app1starbucks app2starbucks app3

This kind of technology horsepower could have easily been over-complicated, but it wasn’t. How can you avoid a fiasco for your new service like Starbucks has done?

  1. Sweat the details. Don’t just design a service, design a memorable and shareable experience. Think it through from each person’s perspective, optimize it, minimize, remove the friction. Rapid prototyping with real people rehearsing scenarios can get you there. (We call it Human Prototyping).
  2. Communicate well. Internally and externally. Be sure that everyone who will use the service knows what to expect—and what’s expected of him or her—before their first use. Setting people up to fail by just building an app then letting people stumble through is no way to make friends—or a good first impression.
  3. Train through multiple channels. Use print, your app, on-line support, and in-store service training. Creating a glossary of commonly used terms and phrases to introduce new services helps create consistency and reduce confusion among staff members (oops, baristas). In the card below, which I’ve seen in several cities in the last week, customers also get ‘trained’—simply, quickly, and accurately.

starbucks 1       starbucks 2

Think about the little things that can make your customers’ and your employees’ lives a little easier, put them in more control, and enhance their experience. Do enough of the little things and customers will rave about your brand in a big way.

About the Author

Mike Wittenstein is the founder and managing principal at Storyminers, an experience, service, and business design consultancy known for its game-changing work with leading service brands. Mike is also a world-class expert on experience, service, and business design