Free Starbucks Wi-Fi & The Ultimate Customer Voice Survey

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free starbucks wi-fiStarbucks seems to be in trouble lately – a surge in competition from companies like McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, a faltering economy, and their stocks tumbling from $47 to $17. So what did they do in response? Hire a bunch of overpaid experts (HiPPOs) to figure out what customers want?

 No! They turned to the web for a very ingenious idea… Starbucks recently setup a ‘My Starbucks Idea’ website, as a way to gain customer insight. Think of this as the ultimate online survey tool. Starbucks customers join this site, submit their ideas, other people rate them, and Starbucks LISTENS to the ideas and acts on the most popular ones! Amazing.

And they are already acting on ideas being submitted. And one of the ideas being acted on I am truly shocked they are finally doing – free Starbucks wi-fi! Yep, they are going to be offering 2 hours of free wireless internet in their stores (hopefully per visit)! I have wanted them to offer this for so long – many other ‘local’ coffee shops offer this, and was often the reason I visited them instead of Starbucks.

Now this survey website got me thinking. Why doesn’t every major online business offer a survey site like this? It’s a great way to learn the online customers voice. This is much better than simply guessing at what customers want by using traditional clickstream web analytics tools. Come on Amazon.com and Buy.com… if a brick and mortar can do this successfully, its bound to work even better for online companies. So follow the lead here, and see what your online customers really want… you may be surprised!

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