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.

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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