Using Social Media To Get to the Root of Customer Experience for Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Posted on November 20, 2008. Filed under: Customer Insight Portal | Tags: , , , , |

Meikah of Customer Relations: The New Competitive Edge visit to a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the Philippines brought up an interesting question about customer service. Should there be a limit to pleasing customers? Her visit made her realize that in its willingness to please, CBTL was allowing customers to perhaps overstay their welcome, meaning that new visitors were often unable to find seating.

To help Meikah answer her question and determine if finding available seating was a common problem for Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Leximancer’s The Customer Insight Portal analyzed Yelp! reviews from Los Angeles and San Francisco. The conceptual map is a starting point to viewing the data visually, and understanding the different concepts and themes that came up in Yelp! reviews. The Customer Insight Portal allows users to drill down all information and see the direct verbatims.

Above is a conceptual map of the data analyzed by Leximancer’s The Customer Insight Portal. The circles represent frequent themes found within the reviews. The file icons on the far right and left represent feedback from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Note how the theme tea is more closely correlated to San Francisco, and coffee is more closely correlated to Los Angeles. The theme parking is also very prevalent in Los Angeles reviews, which makes sense because of how car-centric Los Angeles is. Many of the comments related to feedback on how awful the drivers were in the parking lots and how customers had to pay for parking after more than an hour.

The Conceptual Map Breaking Down the Concepts by Themes

Above is another snapshot of the conceptual map of the data analyzed by Leximancer’s The Customer Insight Portal. This time the concepts, which help determine the themes, have been filled in. As you can see Starbucks is closely aligned with Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL).

Yelpers Feel Parking is Important for Coffee Bean & Tea Leafs in Los Angeles

Yelpers Feel Parking is Important for Coffee Bean & Tea Leafs in Los Angeles

As Meikah noted her blog post, seating was a concern as many people are prone to settle in, which makes seating scarce for new arrivals. For the San Francisco and Los Angeles branches of CBTL, seating did show up as something that was on the minds of their customers. See the seating concept within the outdoor theme above; clearly customers are talking about outdoor seating—which we found by selecting some of the ‘evidence’ links in The Customer Insight Portal.

The majority of references related to seating were related to available outdoor seating, which makes sense in warmer California, especially Los Angeles. For CBTL, this creates actionable customer insight as they’ll know to the patio seating preference of their Califormia customers.

Leximancer’s The Customer Insight Portal let us drill down to the specific feedback given. Below are excerpts of the 47 reviews related to seating:

•    Kudos for outdoor seating so i can sit outside with my smoker friends slowly killing myself breathing in that lovely second-hand smoke. Thanks guys…i love you too. and for always getting my drink right. and for being right next to my work. and always having room for me to sit.
•    Outside seating means great people watching, if you consider the people in this neighborhood remotely interesting.
•    This is a good one because it’s pretty big inside and there’s outside seating for all the hot-body watching.
•    Solid drinks, nice Baristas and plenty of outdoor seating. I absolutely love sitting outside on a windy and chilly later afternoon enjoying a smoke, a nice cup of whatever, and some good ol’ free wi-fi.
•    Not so much seating inside, but lots outside, including a big fun firepit!
•    And, it’s right in front of a nice big park that you could relax in. Or, there is outside seating, and a firepit.
•    They only have about 4 tables outside and no indoor seating. .. but it’s the grab and go location I visit anyway.
•    Unlike most Coffee Beans in West LA that are generally located on busy streets corners, this location is in a residential area and thus you are not sucking in diesel fumes from the Blue Bus while seating outdoors. The patio alsk has a fire pit that provides cozy heat during winter months.
•    Seating is horrible, as there are a couple tables and an overstuffed chair, and the place is constantly moving.
•    This CB & T along the Market St.-strip is the busiest in terms of crowds and location. The outdoor seating area is not great and becomes a toxic-wasteland section for smokers.
•    This location is nice for the outdoor seating, assuming it’s not another one of the San Francisco bone chilling days.
•    This is one of THE best corners for people-watching and celeb-spotting in all of L. A.. Lots of outdoor seating where people and pooches soak up the sun.
•    There is plenty of seating tho, especially welcome when the rain is falling, which I suppose is the main draw.
•    The location is very central on Fillmore St so it is very tough to find outdoor seating on a nice day
•    The indoor seating is very limitied – like 2 small tables. They have a huge patio area with a fire pit that keeps you warm in the winter months.

Also, related to customer experience is the correlation between the concepts friendly and service. While not everyone rates their service highly, many of the customers felt the baristas were very friendly. The proximity to the themes of service and location are telling, as it shows that Yelp reviewers feel that service depends on the location.

Another important thread of review comments that we found was Starbucks. It was easy to find a direct correlation between reviews of Starbucks and CBTL. And we can see the most reviewers prefer CBTL to Starbucks.

•    Okay, I used to refuse to accept that Coffee Bean could possibly be better than Starbucks, but then I really gave it a chance one day and realized that it actually IS much more satisfying.
•    I love everything about the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, far better than Starbucks and any other competitors. I drink in and buy my own for home and work.
•    Coffee Bean can kick Starbucks ass any day of the week. However, my local CB is not up to par on the classy coffee joints I’m used to.
•    Coffee Bean has the best vanilla lattes. They actually still have baristas unlike Starbucks.
•    You gotta hand it to Coffee Bean despite being a chain, it feels oh-so-local compared to the corner Starbucks, and in Los Feliz, the locals do come out for their coffee here, and many leave their laptops at home in favor of a newspaper, or (*gasp!*) actually talking with other people!
•    I love everything about the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, far better than Starbucks and any other competitors. I drink in and buy my own for home and work.

While this blog post only provides a brief overview we hope that readers can see that using The Customer Insight Portal can result in actionable insight that can be used to increase customer retention and satisfaction.

If you have a question related a company’s customer experience you think The Customer Insight Portal can help you answer, e-mail Chris Westfall (chris.westfall at leximancer.com) with recommendations for a future blog post.

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My Starbucks Idea – What Starbucks Customers Really Want

Posted on October 14, 2008. Filed under: Customer Insight Portal, Leximancer | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

In the last couple months, Starbucks joined the social media scene in a big way – launching their My Starbucks Idea site, a Web site dedicated to allowing customers to voice their own ideas about that they would like to see change, improve, etc. at Starbucks.

Users can submit their own ideas related to employees, coffee and tea, merchandise and Starbucks cards. Ideas are then rated by points and reviewed by Starbucks corporate employees, some of which are seen through in action.

Jeremiah Owyang, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, called this the “start of social computing (where individuals who participate socially to build something greater) work together to craft better products, services and experiences for companies.”

Conceptual Map of My Starbucks Ideas

In the six or seven months since Starbucks launched this Web site, there have been thousands of idea entries. When using The Customer Insight Portal to analyze the top rated ideas of all times, we found some interesting themes that would provide strong actionable customer insight for Starbucks.  

Coffee - a major concept as it relates to My Starbucks Idea

One major theme around My Starbucks Idea was obviously coffee. This shows that by using My Starbucks Idea, many customers have ideas centered on improving the coffee at Starbucks, whether it is through better offers and choices, bolder coffees, etc. There were also many mentions of Starbucks’ Pike’s Place blend, which will be discussed further later.

A map showing the prevalence of the theme love

Another main theme around Starbucks was love, in terms of what customers loved about Starbucks or what they would love to see at Starbucks in the future. As you can see, there are many concepts related to love, which shows that its most passionate customers still are finding much to their liking. It also creates actionable insight for Starbucks to capitalize on the things their customers love, as well as the things customers would love to see changed at the stores. 

Pathway Analysis showing customers would love more vegan options

When looking further at some of the things customers love or would love to see, one can see that vegan options, like sandwiches and pastries would be preferred menu items. Although Starbucks already offers soymilk products, their food items lack vegan options. This theme was repeated through My Starbucks Idea as something customers would really like to see changed in the near future.

“Although I applaud Starbucks for finally offering soy milk for its coffee 
beverages, I would love it if they would offer more vegan food options.”

“While I love that Starbucks offers soy milk at every store, there are 
almost no totally vegan food items. That would be my addition to the store.”

“Love your silk soy, but why don’t you offer 
vegan snacks? if you had a dairy free muffin for example i wouldn’t 
have to make two stops on the way to work every morning!”

“I love that Starbucks offers soy 
milk, but you should start offering vegan pastries & sandwiches. Whole 
Foods sells a lot of vegan pastries that taste great.”

One can see from the excerpts above that Starbucks gained critical insight to retaining some of their valued, vegan customers. By adding some vegan options to their menu, many of these loyal customers would make Starbucks their one stop shop. 

A map highlighting the theme Dunkin Donuts as it relates to Starbucks coffee

One interesting insight for Starbucks was the presence of Dunkin Donuts as a theme on the Starbucks data map. While not directly related to the My Starbucks Ideas per se, looking at the pathway analysis, you can see that Dunkin Donuts is related to the coffee theme, more specifically the Pike’s Place blend.

 “As an avid and loyal Starbuck’s customer I am very unhappy with the 
new Pike Place Roast. It’s obvious that corporate leaders are trying to 
better compete with McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, and White Hen, but, please do 
not do so at the expense of your loyal customer base.”

“Pike Place is not my first choice brew. It is too mild and I 
feel I could get the same type of coffee from a Dunkin Donuts or a man 
selling coffee from a cart on the street.”

“I just don’t understand why Pikes Mistake has to be the only option 
for a cup of brewed coffee. It isn’t as though there isn’t enough business 
to justify keeping Pikes Mistake and also offering a bold coffee for those 
of us that like something better than the many gas stations, McDonalds, and 
Dunkin Donuts coffee.”

“It is your choice, as Pikes Peak is weaker than Dunkin Donuts.”

OK, I’ve tried the 
new blend 10 times to be fair and I must say – it is terrible. It 
tastes old the second it is brewed and the aftertaste is something 
reminiscent of a taste from the Dentist’s office. I am mostly a decaf 
drinker and the new blend has driven me to Dunkin Donuts. I love the 
Starbucks people, and I will miss them, but I can’t stomach another sip.”

Looking further into this correlation at the textual level brings Starbucks two actionable insights. First, one can see that Pike’s Place is not popular amongst Starbucks regulars, especially when it is the only option available. Secondly, one can see that some customers are actually choosing to go purchase their coffee from Dunkin Donuts, instead of Starbucks, as a result of this disliked blend and the lack of more options. My Starbucks Idea shows Pike’s Place is already under review, which is important considering the frequency of how often it showed up

This would show Starbucks that in order to retain their current coffee drinkers, may need to look into a) replacing Pike’s Place blend altogether or b) at least providing more than this blend as an option.

A map showing that Starbucks customers enjoy free incentives, especially when it comes to free WiFi availability

When My Starbucks Idea first launched early this year, Becky Carroll of Customers Rock noted that customer requests focused on free “loyalty” drinks and free WiFi. Six months later, free WiFi still remains one of the more popular ideas, while free “loyalty” drinks isn’t a strong theme.

“I think that there should be free Wifi in all Starbucks stores. My hometown 
Sbux does not have free WiFi but I am currently abroad and all the Sbux I 
have been to overseas have it for free, and I feel that it is a nice 
amenity that would make me come in more and stay longer.”

“My local library has free internet. I 
can’t think of how many latte’s I would have purchased over the past few 
years if Starbucks did not nickle and dime their potential customer base.”

“It is beyond me why Starbucks does not get that free internet across all 
retail stores for ALL customers would dramatically increase business.”

While free is an overarching theme on My Starbucks Idea, it should be noted that customers are always going want free options but Starbucks will have to determine if their business model can support it.

By using Leximancer’s The Customer Insight Portal, Starbucks can use their My Starbucks Idea Web site to even better satisfy their customers and increase retention. As Maria Palma of Customer is Always notes, Panera started getting more of her business after she got tired of paying $30 for WiFi that didn’t always work. Free WiFi is a concept that Starbucks customers are clearly calling for.

With thousands of ideas to sift through, using The Customer Insight Portal allows Starbucks to know exactly what their customers would like to see, and would they would like not to see, ultimately allowing the Starbucks corporation to better understand what ideas they should focus on putting into place.  

 

 

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Analyzing Yelp! Reactions to Dunkin Donuts

Posted on September 12, 2008. Filed under: Customer Insight Portal, Leximancer | Tags: , , , , , |

The Conceptual Map Analyzing Yelp Reviews of Dunkin Donuts

The Conceptual Map Analyzing Yelp Reviews of Dunkin Donuts

Yelp, a social networking site, makes it easy for users to review restaurants, bars, shops and other places. If you’ve got only one brick-and-mortar location, it’s easy to analyze customer feedback. But what if you’re a mega-chain with hundreds of locations in multiple cities? No one wants to comb through that much data piece by piece. That’s where The Customer Insight Portal makes data analysis more effective.

Case in point – The Customer Insight Portal was able to take Yelp reviews from the East Coast cult-favorite Dunkin Donuts in key cities like New York and Boston. The analysis of the reviews provided key concepts and themes around price, service, etc.

For a company called Dunkin Donuts, the number one theme Yelpers associate with the brand is coffee. This creates actionable insight for Dunkin Donuts in that if they decided to do a targeted offer or advertising to Yelp, a site that attracts more than 4 million unique visitors a month, that they should focus on promoting a coffee offer.

Pathway Analysis of How Yelpers Assign Stars

Pathway Analysis of How Yelpers Assign Stars

Yelp reviewers assign stars to each location based on their overall perception of the location. Using pathway analysis, we can find that the biggest factors Yelpers use when assigning stars is time (related to time it takes to order), staff and their perceived level of friendliness. Again, this creates actionable insight for Dunkin Donuts in knowing that when customers consider the overall perception of each location, that providing fast service and friendly customer service will be at the forefront of customer minds.

Correlation Between Locations and Service for Dunkin Donuts

Correlation Between Locations and Service for Dunkin Donuts

An important correlation to note is the connection between people (essentially customer service) and location. The conceptual map and pathway analysis shows Yelpers find that service depends on the location, which makes sense since Dunkin Donuts is a franchise model. Unlike Starbucks with its comprehensive customer-service training program for all of its store units, the customer service at Dunkin Donuts is more likely to vary by location and be dependent on the franchise owner.

Finally, as a company looking to aggressively expand in a down economy when its biggest competitor –Starbucks – is shutting down locations left and right, The Customer Insight Portal provides valuable actionable customer insight on the current strengths and weaknesses, according to online customer reviews.

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