The Starbucks name game.

Would you walk into Starbucks and say ‘Morning, I’d like a Flat White and for you to announce to the whole coffee shop my name please‘? – Or, does this sound a little odd?

Well take a visit to Starbucks anywhere in the UK now and you’ll be asked “What drink would you like?” followed by “…and what is your (first) name please?” When your drink is ready, your name is then shouted out – even though you are likely to be stood less than a metre away. Starbucks are doing this to make the customer experience more personal – is this a step too far for the American thinking firm?

“Have you noticed how everything seems a little impersonal nowadays?”, its website asks wistfully. “We’ve all become user names, reference numbers and IP addresses…From now on, we won’t refer to you as a ‘latte’ or a ‘mocha’, but instead as your folks intended: by your name” the coffee chain claims.

I have to question this. Being honest; I don’t really like every stranger in the coffee shop knowing my name. I don’t know them and will more than likely never meet them again. I suspect for most people this is actually compromising the ‘customer experience’. The barista’s seem uncomfortable asking your name and most customers either act surprised or uncomfortable having to provide their name back. The whole ‘experience’ is a little strange and doesn’t make it feel personal in a positive way.

I wonder whether this Starbucks initiative is actually more about getting them in the news and people talking about this subject (like me!) in an attempt to raise their profile, rather than actually focussing on the customer. This could be clever marketing, but are they boosting their coffee sales from this? I strongly suspect not.

My name, next time I visit Starbucks, will be ‘Costa’! 🙂

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One thought on “The Starbucks name game.”

  1. Nick, I too am slightly uncomfortable about having my name yelled out. I think it unnecessary. The Starbucks system seems to work – they make your drink in order. You queue – in order. I think you may be right – it’s about trying to get some exposure again. The good coffee shops know my name anyway – and they certainly know what I drink. My name is ‘addict’!

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