My Starbucks Case Study – Connecting Offline and Online

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One of the famous examples we all hear when we join webinars and seminars on how to leverage your brand with social media is Starbucks. Starbucks is using Facebook and Twitter for customer care and yes, we can say that to increase sales. Case studies are a lot on the web and I often talk about them in my presentations. Asking my self if there is way to improve for Starbucks when connecting offline and online…

Now, sometimes you become part of a learning curve for brands as a prosumer. It happens quicker than you want or expect. And it happened to me at my last Starbucks visit.

When I was paying my bill, the friendly women at the counter started talking about my nice netbook. She was actually getting me inside of a comfortable small talk that was obviously intended already before I accessed their coffee shop. It is a part of their customer care strategy which connects offline and online in an interesting way.

When the cash desk threw out my receipe, the woman gets a smile on her face. She cut in our conversation with a „Hey, Congratulations! You have just been selected to take part in our customer online survey„. She hands over the recipe and explains that I have to answer some question and then will get a coupon for a free tall drink. I thought for myself „Nice idea!“, let’s see if they connect it with their social media efforts.

Now, obviously they were lucky in some way that I am a (business) blogger and always pay attention to such efforts of companies to look after their customers. I do not know whether she saw that I have logged in on that Starbucks shop via Foursquare while standing at the cash point. That would show how well trained the people at Starbucks are. She definitely knew that I will be working and going online during my stay in their shop. If the cash maschine has a customer care survey button, I don’t know. Anyway…

So, I took the survey and thus can interpret from their questions that there is an intention to get customers into a conversation. „Cluetrain in the offline world“ comes to my mind. The survey itself is a normal five minutes multiple choice research. Nothing special. In the end, I get the code for my free drink, write it on the coupon and get my drink. Their customer care process works!

Spot On!
Now, why do I write about this experience? Starbucks is said to have a good social media approach -some might call it strategy- to work with their customers. But when the survey was done, I was surprised that I did not find a button to become their „fan“ on Facebook. Which actually would lead me a step further in their process to think about their customer care card (see their app promotion). Or to become a follower of their Twitter account, so I can spread the word about my free drink and praise their cool customer service approach. And now, I am asking myself, is it better that they don’t ask for too much brand commitment. Or is it normal to give when you get? Maybe you can help my find an answer…

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13 Kommentare zu "My Starbucks Case Study – Connecting Offline and Online"

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  6. Christian am 18.06.2010 08:26 

    Good observations Martin! When asking at the end, if you would actually be in favor of the „Like“ button, I’d say the option shall be at least available (Starbucks Germany has it’s local FB fan page. Plus a Twitter following button.

    But how about the foursquare check-in? Even if you are not the mayor and no foursquare promotion is offered, would you be willing to share your mobile number or register in some way, in order to receive a mobile coupon, valid for your next visit?

    If you’re around in Munich this weekend, I’d love to discuss with you. :)

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  10. Martin Meyer-Gossner am 19.06.2010 12:47 

    THX Christian. When I think of some studies which were published last year, we know that people are willing to „like“ a brand for a freebee 2.0. So why should they not share their mobile number for a drink? This loyalty system will work as long as there is no abuse of personal data of the brand public. Right?

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