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Don’t get hung up on competitive pricing – how’s your customer experience?

A new Costa Coffee has just opened in our local village, it immediately gave a somewhat Continental feel to the high street and, even in drizzle, hardy smokers are sat outside enjoying their cappuccino.

It is pretty busy at all times - which has panicked the local tearoom into putting out a sign which says “Cost a lot less”.  But they don’t get it – this is not about pricing but about brand – i.e. a promise of what will be delivered.

Wherever a Costa opens this is what we know we will get

A cup of coffee made as you would like it, choose your milk, choose the strength of your coffee, choose to have it flavoured with ginger if you like

A large – in fact a damn great - cup of coffee rather than a dainty china cup and saucer

Background music so you can hold a conversation without the rest of the quietly behaved customers hearing everything you are saying.

A casual – in your own living room environment – whilst we were there two young couples came in with babies – one in a pram one in a car seat that was popped on a table to rock.  No one minded – no one tutted.

So we’re not just buying a cup of coffee we’re buying into the whole customer experience.

What's more we are comfortably encouraged to be part of a discerning tribe - neatly summarised on the etched mirror at my local Costa:- "The Cappuccino Crowd, The Expresso Enthusiasts, The Latte Lovers"

And what’s the effect of delivering a great customer experience rather than just selling a product?  Costa has shown 42 consecutive quarters of growth and its underlying profits are up 30% to £36.1 million.

So here’s my question - have you thought about your customer experience recently?

P.S. If you find real marketing examples useful you might also want to pop onto, this one about the Cat's Protection organisation, this one on Ocado, and this one on the British Heart Foundation 

Thanks to Mike_fleming on Flickr for the image


  1. how right. 'price-fighting' is likely to lead to a race to the bottom - look where it got all those computer makers!

  2. Spot on, Jane! That's exactly what coffee shop chains offer and pricing has nothing to do with it. Look, the price of a latte is what you will pay for a whole pack of coffee in a retail shop, so looking at the price of a cup of coffee only with no regard to the customer experience makes no sense.
    Now, what I focus on is to provide personal approach, where a client can actually speak to the person who is translating their document (impossible with translation agencies). I also try to give something extra, even if it's just a suggestion on how to improve the source (original) text.


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