Listening to Customers Can be Good for Your Bottom Line (and Waistline)

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Starbucks displays caloriesYou may have noticed a new addition to your local Starbucks menus recently. Alongside the familiar standbys of Mocha Frappuccinos and Vanilla Lattes, you now get a more immediate gut check: caloric counts. While some may complain that they no longer get to enjoy their Macchiattos guilt-free, other consumers are championing Starbucks for putting this information front and center.

The FDA has been trying to implement required caloric counts for years, but Starbucks jumped ahead of the fast-food curve by displaying this information beginning in June 2013. It’s a smart move that appeals to Starbucks’ middle class customer base that likes its indulgences but is just a bit obsessed with health food. (Kale smoothie anyone?)

Starbucks’ initiative also shows that meeting customers’ demands can be achieved through greater company transparency, with benefits for both.

It turns out that listening to customers and addressing their health concerns may actually help increase revenue. A Stanford study showed that menus with caloric counts helped lower customer’s calories by 6%, and when it came to calories from food, that number dropped to 14%. When Starbucks’ stores with calorie-postings were located within 50 meters of a competitor, the revenues for these stores actually increased. Future long-term studies are hoping to find even more evidence of mutual beneficial relationships with this increased transparency.

Another fringe benefit of listening to customers? Increased innovation.

As Starbucks and other companies who use calorie counts make nutrition a priority, their new menu items will also likely reflect this shift. These companies will be required to think of new options that are healthier and show well in calories. A greater variety of healthy options, in turn, continues to help customer wellness. This shift in thinking from company-centric to customer-centric is just another of the many changes occurring in the relationship revolution.

Want to delve deeper into the how-to’s of measuring and analyzing customer feedback? Join us September 19 at 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET for Metrics and Tools to Measure Customer Satisfaction, a webinar with Aphrodite Brinsmead, Senior Research Analyst at Ovum and Aspect’s Michael Kropidlowski.

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