In early 90’s, Howard Schultz created this vision that Starbucks coffee house would become “third place”, where people can relax, meet others, and enjoy coffee outside of home and work. Once this third place is established in customers mind, it creates steady and continuous revenue for Starbucks. 20+ years later with “third place” is in place, Schultz has now been focusing on making Starbucks the “forth place”, where people exchange ideas and comments about the brand via social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
Although turning fans to revenue is important, Starbucks is more committed to building new relationship with its new customers and to strengthening existing relationship with its most loyal customers. Seeing the increasing needs in effort, in 2009, Schultz hired Adam Brotman as the VP of Digital Ventures to exclusively work on enriching customer experience via social media. Since then, the brand has created a digital dialogue with its customers in everywhere of the world, enabling them to give feedback and receive a response back from Starbucks addressing concerns or comments. Starbucks don’t just say they care about customer experience, they really do show they care. Today, Starbucks has 3.5 million of followers on Twitter and over 10 million Facebook fans. Schultz’s vision of the “forth place” is being realized.