Weekend Post: Starbucks

from brandexperiences.co.uk

I went into Starbucks for the first time in about a fortnight yesterday, looking for a Strawberries&Cream fix. Not exactly exciting, but I was on the receiving end of their new approach to service – which included writing my name on my cup. Squee! I love things with my name on, so this was a rather lovely little surprise for me.

The aim of Starbuck’s apparent new plan which has been in place since mid-March is to provide a more personalised service to us UK customers. Of course, this has been going on in the States for years – and apparently the good people of Starbucks sometimes get names wrong. To be honest, when I was asked for my name – and I after I got over my good, in-build British reserve of releasing such personal information – I did briefly ponder on the Lucy vs. Lou conundrum – opting for Lou on the basis that they wouldn’t then have to ask me whether I spell my name with an -ie or a -y.

Speaking of the British reserve, here’s a rather fun comment by one person on the new strategy:

The whole Starbucks name thing is a real test for my paranoia. I now need an alias for buying coffee. 

And another one:

 I do hope this strategy dies a horrible and early death, though knowing the mighty brand as I do, it is probably only the precursor to the next step – Starbucks baristas turning up on my door to borrow a cup of sugar; baristas offering up the best man speech at my wedding; and finally, though possibly most terrifyingly, my own eulogy brought to you by Starbucks – “Bernard was a great guy, he loved lattes and life, in that order, hahaha, have a great afterlife Bernard!”

And comedian Arthur Smith:

I am not looking to make friends when I go into a coffee shop, I just want a drink…I want a pleasant but respectful distance between me and the person serving me coffee – I don’t want to go clubbing with them.

A so very British take on the situation. It has me thinking, how important is one’s name when it comes to service? I work in service and never call the people I serve by their name – despite the name cards they all have in their place to dictate where they should sit. Some of them spot my name badge and call me by my name, which never fails to panic me as I immediately think that they must know me from elsewhere in my life – until I realise they’ve simply read my name badge. So, is it a good thing for Starbucks to be doing this here in Britain? I know there is the practical reason that it means everyone knows whose latte is whose – but it seems to me that (at least in my local branch) queuing at the collection point solved this problem pretty well (such a British solution!).

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Categories: Weekend Post | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Weekend Post: Starbucks

  1. Emily

    I don’t understand the custom myself… It feels unnecessary to me. On the other hand, some of the misspellings are hilarious. My friend Phoebe has had Feebee written on her cup several times. Is Phoebe really that unheard of?

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  2. Emily

    As a side note, I was seriously stuck on Paul in the picture for a moment. I thought it said Paw.

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  3. Great post, Lou. I think you are right; I’m not sure the British can take this sort of thing!

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  4. Her Electrical Nature

    I’m American and I found this highly amusing, because for a minute I didn’t understand why telling someone your name is such an issue! In the US misspellings are rampant also, so sometimes I tell them my name is Soliel, just to liven up that particular barrista’s day!

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  5. I am happy to say I have never drunk a coffee at one of these places, and proud to say that in Australia we (mostly) sent them packing – there is not one Starbucks in my town, when once there was three.

    We already have wonderful high-quality coffee houses in Australia, so can’t imagine why you’d drink at SB.

    On the extremely rare chance anyone would like to find out more, this article from a university explains why we didn’t go for Starbucks:

    http://knowledge.asb.unsw.edu.au/article.cfm?articleid=1192

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  6. (I never call people by name either from their badge, and I don’t think anyone has done it to me either. In my experience, reading someone’s badge is a sign that you are about to complain about them to management, and want to be sure you’ve got the right person!)

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  7. (Or very occasionally, tell management what a wonderful job they are doing).

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