Okay, at first, I wanted to give Starbucks props for making a great move forward. Unfortunately, I can only congratulate them on the changes to the app.
What did Starbucks do?
Well, they finally listened to their customers and decided that their mobile payment app will soon track your free drinks and allow you to redeem from the app instead of mailing you a postcard. (Announced via email and a blog post entitled, “Bringing You Rewards Faster (and Tastier)“).
I don’t know if that is part of their Square partnership, but I do congratulate them on that! They stated this has been their number one request. Really? No kidding. If you read my previous post about this, Starbucks’ Kind of Loyalty, you’ll remember my frustration in how sending a postcard (to reduce redemptions) doesn’t create a truly loyal customer (and is super wasteful).
So, what’s the problem?
Instead of making this a positive brand experience, they decided to wrap in two items they’re removing from their Gold Card members. I guess they thought that giving a few new benefits would soften the blow. Well, it didn’t.
See the comments…
Shortly after the release of the post, you could see the hundreds of comments stacking up. 456 by the time I wrote this post. Mostly people upset about the removal of the free addition of Soy or Organic milk and free syrups for Gold Card members.
What could they have done…
Instead of trying to soften the blow, they should have kept that separate, or better yet, just kept providing that benefit. If they truly needed to remove those items, then, they should have given a window between the new benefits and taking these away. I’ve seen similar actions done by big brands with “rate notification” letters. Give something positive but take away a few existing benefits or charge more. This never seems to go over as well as the well intentioned marketing managers who plan these campaigns. Not saying that brands never have to communicate bad news, but it’s better to be honest and open why it’s being done, versus trying to hide the bad news away.
Agree? Disagree? Think I think way too much about Starbucks’ loyalty?
Related Posts Mentioned Above:
- Link to Starbucks’ Blog Post – Bringing You Rewards Faster (and Tastier)
- Link to Starbucks’ Kind of Loyalty