With 483 million daily active Facebook users on average and more than 425 million monthly active users using Facebook on their mobile products in December 2011, companies have been eagerly developing personal relationships with their customers on the site, among other networks for a few years.
However, it seems that this isn’t enough.
Yesterday, Starbucks UK launched their personalisation campaign, where the Baristas have become almost Americanised. For those used to buying coffee while across the pond, the staff making your coffee have been asking for your name to write on the cup for years. Being greeted with a smile and left with “Have a nice day!” has been synonymous with the false gratitude that some cultures love, while imposing a feeling of fabricated optimism on others.
“Have you noticed how everything seems a little impersonal nowadays?” The Starbucks website asks. “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.”
This will either lead to an increase in favourable opinion and positive chatter on the social networks about the coffee brand, or resentment to any sort of change to the Barista-Customer relationship.
Even in the Puregenie Digital Recruitment offices, the conversation is polar. Some say that they don’t want to hand over a name, even when offered a free coffee (as per yesterday’s gimmick), one staff member insisted she’d rather pay elsewhere for her drink! Personally, I’m all in favour of a little social interaction where I’m spending money. This is especially important where it’s an unnecessary luxury that I can get elsewhere.
According to MSN Money News, “It wants to boost that to 1,000 in the next few years. A big change, considering the company had a net loss of 65 U.K. stores in its 2010 fiscal year and a net gain of just 6 in 2011. In addition, it’s spending nearly $13 million to overhaul its London cafes and make them more, well, British.”
The most important outcome of the Starbucks campaign is that it gets people talking about the brand. Positive or negative, it sets them apart from the competition. If they can make this part of their image in Britain, they can put more of a stamp on your day.
What do you think about giving your name when you get coffee? Is it a big deal or would you like a friendlier relationship with people you interact with, including shop staff? Tag us in your Tweets @puregenie, come to our Facebook page or add a comment below.