My Starbucks Idea – What Starbucks Customers Really Want

Posted on October 14, 2008. Filed under: Customer Insight Portal, Leximancer | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

In the last couple months, Starbucks joined the social media scene in a big way – launching their My Starbucks Idea site, a Web site dedicated to allowing customers to voice their own ideas about that they would like to see change, improve, etc. at Starbucks.

Users can submit their own ideas related to employees, coffee and tea, merchandise and Starbucks cards. Ideas are then rated by points and reviewed by Starbucks corporate employees, some of which are seen through in action.

Jeremiah Owyang, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, called this the “start of social computing (where individuals who participate socially to build something greater) work together to craft better products, services and experiences for companies.”

Conceptual Map of My Starbucks Ideas

In the six or seven months since Starbucks launched this Web site, there have been thousands of idea entries. When using The Customer Insight Portal to analyze the top rated ideas of all times, we found some interesting themes that would provide strong actionable customer insight for Starbucks.  

Coffee - a major concept as it relates to My Starbucks Idea

One major theme around My Starbucks Idea was obviously coffee. This shows that by using My Starbucks Idea, many customers have ideas centered on improving the coffee at Starbucks, whether it is through better offers and choices, bolder coffees, etc. There were also many mentions of Starbucks’ Pike’s Place blend, which will be discussed further later.

A map showing the prevalence of the theme love

Another main theme around Starbucks was love, in terms of what customers loved about Starbucks or what they would love to see at Starbucks in the future. As you can see, there are many concepts related to love, which shows that its most passionate customers still are finding much to their liking. It also creates actionable insight for Starbucks to capitalize on the things their customers love, as well as the things customers would love to see changed at the stores. 

Pathway Analysis showing customers would love more vegan options

When looking further at some of the things customers love or would love to see, one can see that vegan options, like sandwiches and pastries would be preferred menu items. Although Starbucks already offers soymilk products, their food items lack vegan options. This theme was repeated through My Starbucks Idea as something customers would really like to see changed in the near future.

“Although I applaud Starbucks for finally offering soy milk for its coffee 
beverages, I would love it if they would offer more vegan food options.”

“While I love that Starbucks offers soy milk at every store, there are 
almost no totally vegan food items. That would be my addition to the store.”

“Love your silk soy, but why don’t you offer 
vegan snacks? if you had a dairy free muffin for example i wouldn’t 
have to make two stops on the way to work every morning!”

“I love that Starbucks offers soy 
milk, but you should start offering vegan pastries & sandwiches. Whole 
Foods sells a lot of vegan pastries that taste great.”

One can see from the excerpts above that Starbucks gained critical insight to retaining some of their valued, vegan customers. By adding some vegan options to their menu, many of these loyal customers would make Starbucks their one stop shop. 

A map highlighting the theme Dunkin Donuts as it relates to Starbucks coffee

One interesting insight for Starbucks was the presence of Dunkin Donuts as a theme on the Starbucks data map. While not directly related to the My Starbucks Ideas per se, looking at the pathway analysis, you can see that Dunkin Donuts is related to the coffee theme, more specifically the Pike’s Place blend.

 “As an avid and loyal Starbuck’s customer I am very unhappy with the 
new Pike Place Roast. It’s obvious that corporate leaders are trying to 
better compete with McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, and White Hen, but, please do 
not do so at the expense of your loyal customer base.”

“Pike Place is not my first choice brew. It is too mild and I 
feel I could get the same type of coffee from a Dunkin Donuts or a man 
selling coffee from a cart on the street.”

“I just don’t understand why Pikes Mistake has to be the only option 
for a cup of brewed coffee. It isn’t as though there isn’t enough business 
to justify keeping Pikes Mistake and also offering a bold coffee for those 
of us that like something better than the many gas stations, McDonalds, and 
Dunkin Donuts coffee.”

“It is your choice, as Pikes Peak is weaker than Dunkin Donuts.”

OK, I’ve tried the 
new blend 10 times to be fair and I must say – it is terrible. It 
tastes old the second it is brewed and the aftertaste is something 
reminiscent of a taste from the Dentist’s office. I am mostly a decaf 
drinker and the new blend has driven me to Dunkin Donuts. I love the 
Starbucks people, and I will miss them, but I can’t stomach another sip.”

Looking further into this correlation at the textual level brings Starbucks two actionable insights. First, one can see that Pike’s Place is not popular amongst Starbucks regulars, especially when it is the only option available. Secondly, one can see that some customers are actually choosing to go purchase their coffee from Dunkin Donuts, instead of Starbucks, as a result of this disliked blend and the lack of more options. My Starbucks Idea shows Pike’s Place is already under review, which is important considering the frequency of how often it showed up

This would show Starbucks that in order to retain their current coffee drinkers, may need to look into a) replacing Pike’s Place blend altogether or b) at least providing more than this blend as an option.

A map showing that Starbucks customers enjoy free incentives, especially when it comes to free WiFi availability

When My Starbucks Idea first launched early this year, Becky Carroll of Customers Rock noted that customer requests focused on free “loyalty” drinks and free WiFi. Six months later, free WiFi still remains one of the more popular ideas, while free “loyalty” drinks isn’t a strong theme.

“I think that there should be free Wifi in all Starbucks stores. My hometown 
Sbux does not have free WiFi but I am currently abroad and all the Sbux I 
have been to overseas have it for free, and I feel that it is a nice 
amenity that would make me come in more and stay longer.”

“My local library has free internet. I 
can’t think of how many latte’s I would have purchased over the past few 
years if Starbucks did not nickle and dime their potential customer base.”

“It is beyond me why Starbucks does not get that free internet across all 
retail stores for ALL customers would dramatically increase business.”

While free is an overarching theme on My Starbucks Idea, it should be noted that customers are always going want free options but Starbucks will have to determine if their business model can support it.

By using Leximancer’s The Customer Insight Portal, Starbucks can use their My Starbucks Idea Web site to even better satisfy their customers and increase retention. As Maria Palma of Customer is Always notes, Panera started getting more of her business after she got tired of paying $30 for WiFi that didn’t always work. Free WiFi is a concept that Starbucks customers are clearly calling for.

With thousands of ideas to sift through, using The Customer Insight Portal allows Starbucks to know exactly what their customers would like to see, and would they would like not to see, ultimately allowing the Starbucks corporation to better understand what ideas they should focus on putting into place.  

 

 

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2 Responses to “My Starbucks Idea – What Starbucks Customers Really Want”

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AHHGG–why did you change the soy milk, or better yet, why did you come up with THIS recipe for soy milk? You have to get rid of the after taste of the vanilla– it’s FAR too sweet, and the taste of the chai is totally lost. I am now going to Serious Coffee, where they still use the “Silk “soy product, and will probabaly stay there–even though I really enjoy the baristas at my local Starbuck’s—I just can’t pay designer prices for something I’m not completely liking. Why did you try to fix something that wasn’t broken?

I recently noticed that you are not selling the Starbucks Advent Calendar this year. In the past several years the calendar has always been a huge seller and has sold out as soon as they are in the stores. Why have you decided to not sell them this year?


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