In case you hadn't heard, Starbucks is closing all of its stores today at 5:30 to retrain their baristas and enhance the customer experience. It is another in a series of steps initiated by CEO Howard Schultz to "revisit the standards of quality that are the foundation for the trust that our customers have in our coffee and in all of us. Schultz also views it as "a time to celebrate who we are and to be proud of what we have built." Powerful stuff that offers several lessons to those of us in the legal profession.
1. Closing the doors to devote time to enhancing the customer experience is an expensive endeavor. All costs and no revenue for 3 hours. OK, maybe it is a slow time at many outlets, but it is still making a commitment to all customers and to the future well-being of Starbucks. How many law firms close to enhance the experience of their clients?
2. Howard's real reason for the closings may be to make more money in the long run, but he is focusing it on rebuilding the trust of the consumer. Far more admirable, but ultimately with the same result. Never underestimate the power of trust in an attorney-client relationship.
3. Rather than just announce a temporary closing, Starbucks has trumpeted the store closings and the reasons why for several weeks. And the media has obliged with stories about getting your afternoon Starbucks fix early today. It has been a great marketing coup. They are letting their customers know they have heard their complaints and are making the answer very public.
So take a page from Starbucks, set a date for staff training focused on client service, announce to your clients that you are closing for an afternoon to enhance their experience. It will deliver multiple benefits, just ask Howard Schultz!