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StarbucksBelieve it or not, Starbucks has made itself known in the social media world by launching MyStarbucksIdea, an online community site where customers can share their thoughts and opinions on how Starbucks can improve. Customers can log in and share their own suggestions or vote on what others have posted. Topics range from product offerings to the Starbucks experience to social responsibility.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Starbucks team of “Idea Partners” respond and act upon customers’ ideas. The site encourages visitors to check out their “Ideas in Action” blog for updates on how they’ve progressed with bringing to life people’s ideas. Many have already voted. Currently, the most popular vote is to implement a punch card program so that after a certain set number of drinks one can receive a freebie. Perhaps the Starbucks Duetto Visa card, their current rewards program–basically a hybrid of a credit card and a Starbucks card–just isn’t doing it for them.

I admire their decision to dabble in unfamiliar territory and open the communication pathways with their customers. It shows they care about what their customers think and are at least willing to listen to them. You may recall Dell’s similar move with Ideastorm.

I am no expert in social media and online communities, but I would think it’s a pretty risky move for Starbucks, or for any business new to social media, to put themselves in such a vulnerable position. This is a lot different than the old fashioned “suggestion box,” which was much more privately controlled. MyStarbucksIdea allows practically anyone to share and even vote on a way to improve Starbucks. So what happens if they don’t like what they read? How far are they willing to change the way they do things to satisfy the majority of customers? Though it’s too early to tell how successful this will be, I’m just hoping Starbucks keeps an open mind.



  1. Gary SlackNo Gravatar on Monday 24, 2008

    Excellent first post, Stacy. How could you see us do what Starbucks is doing for one or more of our clients? Or even for ourselves?

  2. Nancy AlexandroffNo Gravatar on Monday 24, 2008

    I think this is a pretty smart move for Starbucks. There is really no such thing as a company “controlling” customer comments / thoughts any more (like the “suggestion box” you accurately referenced.)

    This site: http://starbucksgossip.typepad.com/ has been around for a while. Talk about a loss of control!

  3. MonikaNo Gravatar on Monday 24, 2008

    Regarding Stacy’s comment and the punch card… I’ve come to notice that many people are not aware that Starbucks will actually give you free, yes free, refills on regular coffee only. They have been doing this for at least 8 years that I know of.

    All you need to do is bring your cup in and ask for a refill and no charge. So in a way Starbucks actually does implement this in their own way.

    So staffers… save your cup and bring it in for a refill. It’s not only free but green friendly as well!

  4. bettyNo Gravatar on Monday 24, 2008

    starbucks needs to create a new type of chai tea made w ALMOND milk.
    some of us do not eat dairy or soy and an almond chai tastes great and is very healthy for you.
    how can we communicate this to the company?