Friday, February 13, 2009

National Post

Second cup lines up with Starbucks
National Post
Friday, February 13, 2009
Page: FP9 Section:
FP Marketing Byline: Hollie Shaw
Column: Marketing Report Source: Financial Post

Second Cup Ltd. and Starbucks Corp. have tied for the top spot in a mystery shopping survey assessing customer experience, according to Corbin Partners Inc., while industry giant Tim Hortons, routinely ranked one of the strongest brands in Canada, fell dead last. Corbin Partners sent mystery shoppers into 10 different locations of Canada's popular cafes last month at two different times of the day and scored the chains on such staff-controlled categories as promptness, employee courtesy, employee accuracy, store cleanliness and product availability. Second Cup ranked significantly above all other brands in promptness, taking one to two minutes from the time the customer walked in the door to delivery of a brewed coffee and a baked good. Starbucks came first in the courtesy category, boosted by an employee practice of initiating conversation with customers. Country Style was ranked third overall, while Timothy's and Coffee Time tied for fourth place. Tim Hortons, Canada's largest chain, ranked the lowest among the six major brands.
Starbucks at your service ... but not Timmies: Audit

Starbucks offers the best coffee-shop service in Toronto — followed only slightly by Second Cup — while Tim Hortons ranks at the bottom of the pot, according to a new private audit.
In a soon-to-be-published customer-experience audit conducted by CorbinPartners Inc. in Toronto, six major Canadian coffee shops in Toronto were ranked after a mysteryshopping spree. Customers were sent into 10 different locations of all six coffee franchises. The visitswere made at two different times of the day— the busy morning period and the laid-back afternoon hours.
Country Style ranked third in the customer-service audit, followed by Timothy’s World Coffee, Coffee Time and then Tim Hortons.
“During these economic times, customer experience is important because every dollar and cent matters,” said Jon Purther, chief operating officer of CorbinPartners. “We took it upon ourselves to do this study because the coffee experience is important to Canadians and, for many of them, it’s the key start of their day.”
Purther said his company’s findings will help Toronto coffee houses focus further on customer service.
Each location was scored on objective criteria within five staff-controlled categories: service promptness, employee courtesy, employee accuracy, store cleanliness and product availability.
Second Cup soared above its competitors in promptness, with customers getting their coffee order within two minutes of walking into the store.
“Starbucks,” the audit said, “came up first in the courtesy category – boosted by their employees’ proactive style of initiating conversation with customers. For example, ‘I love your coat’ or ‘We finally got some sunshine today, eh?’”
Tim Hortons scored no higher than fourth in every category, finishing at the bottom in cleanliness and employee courtesy

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