Outsourcing For Ideas
It’s no secret the influence that Starbucks has on their customer’s coffee preferences. With over 25,000 coffee shops around the world, what started as a small coffee bean store in Seattle has grown beyond comprehension. Through classic espresso drinks, creative frappuccinos, and simple drip coffee, Starbucks has branded themselves as the pinnacle of coffee shops. When you take a step back to look at the brand, it’s obvious they’re doing something different, and nothing makes that clearer than their discussion-based website, “My Starbucks Idea.”
My Starbucks Idea is not a new site for the brand. It was created back in 2008 to encourage fresh thoughts to help the coffee chain continue growing. The concept is simple enough: customers post about their ideas to make Starbucks better, vote on and discuss the suggestions that are posted, and wait to hear from Starbucks executives. Their motto is “share, vote, discuss, see,” proving that keeping things simple is the best way to go.
The beauty of this platform is that it involves customers directly and takes from their ideas to create the next best thing that Starbucks has to offer. By taking consumer’s ideas and giving them life, Starbucks gives the people exactly what they want. Customer satisfaction is the goal of every company, but many tend to loose sight of what their buyers actually want. Starbucks takes the guessing out of the game by actually asking and listening to what their coffee-obsessed consumers want from the company.
For example, Starbucks recently started offering almond milk as a substitute in their drinks. This came straight from their My Starbucks Idea forum and led to dairy-free coffee connoisseurs everywhere rejoicing when the announcement was made. It only took one person to post about their desire for the almond milk option, and hundreds of Starbucks drinkers discussed and voted to make this idea become a reality.
This type of customer engagement is unparalleled and widely successful. Consumers are motivated by their own desires to help the company grow. It’s like asking a friend what they want for their birthday; they end up happy with the present, and it leaves out all of the guessing and stress on your end. Companies everywhere can utilize online spaces for their customers to give input, which opens a healthy communication line as well. Two-way communication avenues are a good method to keep your customers happy and engaged in your brand.
Starbucks proves they are customer-centered with this open platform that breeds discussions surrounding the products that Starbucks offers. If customers have a complaint, they can change that negative perspective into something more productive: an idea that could implement positive change. By taking the classic “suggestion/complaint box” and turning it into an online environment that encourages real, supportive change to their products, Starbucks opens doors for their own company and the relationships it cultivates with its customers.
While not every idea entered on My Starbucks Idea is going to be the next big thing, there is the continuing possibility of innovation because of the deep focus on the customer. Starbucks has the ability to change for the better with each new entry on the website. Bad ideas, good ideas, and all ideas in between flood the platform on My Starbucks Idea. Even though this program relies on customer input to survive, it will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary next year, proving that consumers appreciate feeling connected with the companies they do business – an idea that anyone can implement into their own brand.