Net Promoter Score

7 Lessons To Learn From Starbucks NPS To Boost Your Customer Loyalty

Jul 9, 2024

7 mins read

Manisha Khandelwal

Did you know that Starbucks customers visit the store approximately 6 times per month on average?

Why do you think that is? – It’s the experience they create from the moment you walk into their store to the moment you leave and even beyond that. And because of this experience, the coffee giant currently enjoys an NPS score of 77, one of the highest in the sector! 

Fascinating, right? So, let’s explore some of the factors responsible for such a high score and such a huge loyal customer base.

Key Drivers of Starbucks NPS Score

1. My Starbucks Idea

One of the first things that I came across in my research to understand the dynamics of Starbucks, is the programs they have created over the years. These programs enabled them to establish engaging communication with their customers. 

Imagine going to your favorite restaurant where you are asked to give suggestions on the menu and a few days later it is actually on the menu, exciting, right, being valued like that?  

That’s exactly what the program Starbucks did with its My Starbucks Idea. Back in 2008, the former CEO of Starbucks launched the “My Starbucks Idea” – platform, where customers can come together to give suggestions and recommendations to the company. Over the first 5 years of its launch, the platform received over 150,000 ideas and the company has actually used many of them. Some of these ideas include – cake pops, free Wi-Fi, fan-favorite Hazelnut Macchiato, a free birthday treat, and many more!

The infographics show the different ideas and suggestions offered by the customers under the program “My Starbucks Idea”.

2. Closing the Feedback Loop

Back in 2012, Starbucks bought the bakery chain La Boulange for $100 million but unfortunately, that’s when its satisfaction rate fell 3% from the previous year.


Because customers didn’t like the new pastry menu or they missed the old menu like, pumpkin, and lemon loaf cake, or the menu was just too fancy and sometimes all you need is a simple donut. These are not my words – they were actual customer feedback given by regular customers.

As a result, the company decided to repeal its new “fancy” menu and go back to its old-but-gold menu, and following the changes, the satisfaction index climbed up by 1%.

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3. Easy to Order

The image shows the Starbucks mobile app where customers can order their drinks, customize them, pay, and pick them up at the store.

Who doesn’t love convenience? Like skipping a long queue to get your favorite food is kinda convenient.

By keeping convenience and reduced customer effort in mind, Starbucks launched its Mobile Order & Pay option. Now, this is not some ordinary mobile app where you can order stuff and it just shows up at your doorstep, no no, with Starbucks’s mobile app you can actually customize your drink like you are in the store talking to the barista! 

Customers can browse the menu, customize their drinks, pay via the app, and just go to the store to pick up their order. This results in reduced waiting time and long queues, streamlining the entire process, and improving convivence, and customer satisfaction.

This initiative was greatly received by the customers. The Mobile Order & Pay option comprised 6% of Starbucks’ 2016 US sales.

4. Customer Retention

Did you know that 21% of Starbucks customers return within three days, with 10% returning within just one day?

Starbucks is certainly excelling at the customer retention game. Through consistent customer experience, engaging programs, and establishing a sense of community, the coffee giant has created a streamlined experience for customers which they keep coming back to. Their retention strategy includes different reward programs, customized menus, personalized recommendations and offers, and many more.

5. Customizable Menu

The image shows the Starbucks menu which can be customized according to the customer’s choice with different milk flavors, and topping options.

What’s the best part about going to Starbucks? If you ask me, it’s definitely the fun of creating customized drinks. 

The ability to customize drinks to suit your individual tastes is the hallmark of the Starbucks experience. From choosing your favorite types of milk to adding different flavors to create something unique is what makes each and every visit fun and interactive. Not only that there are also seasonal drinks like the fan-favorite pumpkin spice latte. 

6. Customer Service

We all know the benefits of creating a quick, responsive, and omnichannel customer support channel. A good customer service experience can turn 86% of one-time customers into long-term customers and Starbucks understands this well.

Along with a polite and interactive customer support team, Starbucks baristas and customer-facing teams are also trained well to be helpful, polite, and interactive with the customers. Along with that, they also provide their support via different channels (in-store, social media, etc) but always deliver the same level of satisfaction via all channels.

7. Personalization

 The image shows the Starbucks personalized offer where the customer is being offered a fifty percent discount on any handcrafted espresso beverage. The image shows the Starbucks personalized offer where the customer is being offered a fifty percent discount on any handcrafted espresso beverage.

Starbucks’s personalization doesn’t just stop at customized drink orders – it extends into every customer interaction.

It leverages customer data and shopping behavior to tailor offers and experiences that are unique to individual customers. From sending personalized recommendations to sending personalized offers or discounts on birthdays, anniversaries, etc, this personal touch creates an engaging connection between the customer and the brand – one that the customer keeps coming back to.

Now, these are all the key drivers behind Starbucks NPS score, but there is one important driver that needs an honorable mention.

Leverage customer data to tailor customized offers and experiences for your customers that are unique to their needs and expectations.

Brewing Loyalty – Exploring Starbucks Loyalty Programs

The image shows the Starbucks rewards page on the mobile app where the customer has a star balance of 175.

Did you know that in the first quarter of 2016, Starbucks’s customer loyalty was so high that it had more money than some of the major banks? Yes, that’s right. In 2016, Starbucks had $1.2 billion loaded in their Starbucks cards.

The reason behind this level of retention? Their Loyalty Programs. The Starbucks Loyalty Program has been rated the best loyalty program in America in 2021, 2022, and 2023, also the brand’s loyalty program has amassed 28.7 million active customers.

1. Tier Reward Structure

Starbucks’s loyalty program is built on a tired system that aims to reward frequent users with exciting benefits. The structures start with the Green level where customers earn stars with each purchase and get rewards like free birthday treats, etc. while the advanced Gold level offers bigger rewards like free refills, monthly bonus stars, etc. 

2. Fun Point System

The fun point system known as “Stars”, makes earning rewards a much more engaging experience. Customers earn stars for every dollar they spend, which can then be redeemed for free drinks, treats, etc. The app’s fun and interactive interface and progress tracking add an element of gamification, making the reward system much more engaging.

3. Member Special Event

Starbucks also takes care of its most loyal customers aka its members. The perks of being a Starbucks member include gaining exclusive previews of new product launches, member-only discounts, and special promotions like Double Star Day.

4. Starbucks Points Can Be Used In Other Stores

Starbucks has expanded its loyalty program beyond its own stores. Customers can now earn points not only at Starbucks stores but also by purchasing Starbucks products at other stores. By simply uploading the purchase receipt to the mobile app, customers can earn their stars, reinforcing brand loyalty even when not visiting a Starbucks store directly.


It is evident that Starbucks NPS score is no accident – it is the result of a carefully crafted CX strategy that has always and continues to prioritize customer satisfaction at every touchpoint in the customer journey.  From creating the industry’s best loyalty program to offering a personalized menu – Starbucks has ensured that each and every customer interaction is engaging, impactful, and personalized. 

Now, if you have also felt inspired by Starbucks NPS journey, then you need to take your NPS seriously, and with a robust NPS software like SurveSensum, you can do that and much more. The software helps you to gather, and analyze feedback, extract actionable insights, identify key drivers, and take prioritized action that will impact your bottom line.

Manisha Khandelwal

Senior Content Marketer at SurveySensum

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