Starbucks to try its hand at social networking

At least I had Howard beat on this idea :) ...

... "Schultz isn't stopping there. He also wants customers to push back to the company using In other words, the coffeehouse's own social networking site. Schultz wants to empower his customers to help shape the future direction of the coffeehouse he founded.

This is more than a blog or a forum -- customers can discuss ideas, argue about them, post new ideas, vote on ideas and form more opinions on improving the Starbucks experience. Well, I though this was exactly what Schultz was busy doing these days? Is he really interested in what every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks?"

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Comment by Bel Townsend on March 25, 2008 at 3:15pm
Because they (and most other chain coffee shops) go on the assumption that their staff are plain dumb. Seriously. Based on my own experience at Caffe Nero and having chatted to numerous starbux employees now, they basically do not trust their baristas or even store managers to do anything remotely innovative by themselves. You are trained to know exactly enough to fulfil your meagre job description, and thats it. Its to do with branding, each store has to be identical, so there is little room for staff to use their initiative!
Comment by Dale Harris on March 25, 2008 at 1:12pm
why don't they just let the manager in a store respond to individual comments from their own customers. that would be cheaper, more practical and might even result in a more 'organic' coffee house that it's customers feel belongs to them...(hold on..maybe there is a trust and brand identity argument there?)
Comment by Bel Townsend on March 25, 2008 at 5:00am
Ken's captured it entirely: "I just wanted to rant a bit". Call me cynical, but I honestly cannot see how that site will ever be used for anything constructive. Schultz is not going to get many new ideas from there, just a lot of people ranting and complaining, I'd imagine. "Here's a good idea, why don't you actually put some coffee in those buckets of hot milk?" etc.

I recently received a letter from Starbucks UK head office, because I filled in one of their 'customer comment' cards and bothered to post it back to them (hell, free-post envelope, right?) I wasn't actually rude, I just suggested that they put more than 2 shots in a venti mug, so that you could actually taste it! Anyway, the letter was full of apologies for serving me a 'disappointing beverage' and here's £10 worth of free drinks vouchers... so if you don;t like the coffee, you get more coffee you don';t like for free. Riiiight. Worth a try though, if you want freebies there. That webiste could actually cost them a great deal of money!!
Comment by Ken Chappell on March 24, 2008 at 6:06pm
It's an absolute shame that 99% of these ideas have already been implemented by your local coffee house, yet the folks on that site can't get the green siren out of their eyes to see it. I am constantly amazed at the amount of people that are willing to help this...ANY corporate giant get bigger. McDonalds, Starbucks, Lowe's, Wal-mart, the list goes on. I just can't see myself actually wanting to help them to get bigger, but that's just me I guess. They can have my good ideas when they pay me for them :).
Matt, don't think for a moment that Howard doesn't have folks patrolling this & other sites to see what we're up to. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he actually reads it himself. Every breath he takes is a well thought out calculated decision...but I'm quite certain you already know all this, I just wanted to rant a bit.

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