If I have a choice, I will buy my coffee anywhere but Starbucks. Even the gas station (which actually has a decent cinnamon drip). But I have to admit the cookie-cutter coffee house really saved my tail today, AND I learned a few tricks they’re employing to actually reach out and show me they care about my business.
Let me tell you the scenario first.
I went to Empire Cafe (a cute coffee house in Houston) to set up shop on this dreary day, enjoy a decent coffee, and get some work done. To my surprise, actually more like SHOCK, they didn’t have Wifi. I found this out 15 minutes before I needed to be on Skype for a call.
So I raced over to the nearest Starbucks, ordered a coffee, and inquired about Wifi, which STILL isn’t free (in the US). Seriously?! Yes, businesses are still trying to scrape an extra couple of bucks off of our necessity to be connected.
Because it was three minutes until my call, I would have gladly paid, but the barista offered a better solution.
“You know, if you register a Starbucks RED card, you get free wifi with any of your purchases. They say you only get two hours, but I’ve heard it actually can last up to a day or two. And, you get free syrup, soy, and refills, even if there is no money left on the card, but you have it in your possession.”
Huh, that’s cool. So I put $20 on the card to pay for future lattes. Seconds later he saw my iPhone and said, “Oh, you have AT&T, then your wifi is free anyway. I’ll refund the card if you want.”
Let’s review, Starbucks and AT&T, two of the most annoying brands of the decade, are taking initiative to satisfy their customers BEFORE we complain. I’m impressed.
I’ll still choose the coffee house over SB and Verizon when they finally get the iPhone. Unfortunately their strategy isn’t strong enough to outweigh the burned beans and dropped calls, but I think it’s notable they’re coming around. And, I’m excited to save a dollar when I order my short double soy latte.