Apple fan-boys, suburban hipsters, and even my fellow friends alike may disagree with me on this one, but when it comes to coffee + productivity, the 800 lb gorilla takes the bananas.
The company recently announced they will be providing FREE wi-fi to anyone with a Starbucks card.
This is huge. The sole reason why many college students don’t study at Starbucks is due to the fact you need an expensive T-Mobile Hotspot account to get online. $6 a day my ass, thats two, five pump light ice white mochas.
Now, I’ve always been happy with Starbucks, maybe because I’ve been pampered with my company footing my wi-fi bill, but aside from the technology, Starbucks has refined and solidified customer service.
Let me tell you a story about a local coffee shop in my area, no names will be mentioned, because despite the horrendous customer service, I still have my support for budding entrepreneurs.
I have been going to my local start up coffee shop, since high school for about seven years. They catered to the young crowd with contemporary paintings on the walls and the soothing electronic sounds of new-Radiohead while serving coffee on double punch Tuesdays.
All was well until poor customer service took its toll.
I remember an elderly lady walked in with a Starbucks travel mug and wanted to fill up with some good local coffee. What happened next? She was refused coffee and service because she was sporting the Starbucks brand. I understand that brand awareness is key, but c’mon, your local coffee shop will never make it big like Starbucks so why not go for the quick buck at least? The woman obviously enjoys or would like to try your coffee so why not use that to win a returning customer. Minus one for poor service.
My friends and I, who had been loyal customers for 6 years got the boot when a few additional friends dropped by for no more than 10 minutes without ordering a drink. I understand they are trying to prevent the “what would an indian do” scenario but returning customers who have brought in additional friends to drink sub-par coffee, equivalently priced with Starbucks’ premium offerings, should not be treated like that. Minus two for poor service.
The final draw came last year. Starbucks was closed late at night, and my local coffee shop offered extended night hours. I had to crank out some code over coffee so I figured I’d take advantage of the free wi-fi. The oh-so-not-beloved coffee shop decided it would issue a password to get online, printed on the receipt of my purchase, cool. While sipping on my white mocha for a few hours and doing my work, I was interrupted by the barista to be informed that I needed to make ANOTHER purchase because I had been using their wi-fi for over two hours. This wasn’t stated anywhere on my receipt, or anywhere inside the shop. Minus three for poor service. I decided this was the last time I would do business with them.
Now that Starbucks offers free wi-fi, coupled with great coffee, and excellent customer service, there is no need to support the local coffee shop. All they had going was customer service, and when you lose that – you lose the relationships that keep change in your pockets.