Where Customers Submit, Discuss, and Vote, Ideas: “My Starbucks Ideas”

The first time we saw this implemented in public was the Dell’s Ideastorm website, where the customers were able to submit their feature and product requests. This ultimately resulted in a Linux box being produced, a pretty drastic change from their long term relationship with Microsoft.

[The future of corporate websites enable customers to submit, define, and vote for next-generation products in collaboration with product teams]

Starbucks has seen the benefits that Dell had, and appears to be using the same Sales Force feature that allows customers to submit, discuss and vote for features, see My Starbucks Ideas.

You can:

  • See the top rated ideas (punch cards, wifi, are among the top)
  • Or submit your own idea, I just suggested that ‘rent an office’ be available at select stores
  • See which ideas get taken up and become products on their blog (FYI: Turn on comments)
  • What should we expect? A few of these ideas to be put into action, with great fanfare. An increased dialog between company and marketplace, and expect white label social networking sites to start offering these same features. (email me when you see one)

    This is just the start folks, where social computing (where individuals who participate socially to build something greater) work together to craft better products, services and experiences for companies. To me, this is one of the ultimate goals of web strategy, as we move away from the irrelevant corporate website.

    • Andrej Ravnikar

      Excellent point Jeremiah. Corporate sites should go even one step further, connecting this collaboration with widgets on white label social networking sites. To gather even more insight informations.

      For instance, mobile operator could gather consumers wishes through widgets and reward them for participation with free credits which can be l8r on exchanged for free talk minutes or sms.

    • alex

      Jeremiah

      I remember the ( was it called ) beacon storm with facebook.

      Would it not be a good offer on their part to offer a program that we facebook users could run from our PC’s so that it created the kind of sensible profile that is described on the video.

      Is this something that we should expect them to deliver if they have any moral or ethical regard for their users ?

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    • very good post!
      I would suggest you to take a look at what P&G is doing with their “Share your thoughts” program (http://www.pg.com/getintouch/syt.jhtml).
      anyway I think that this is just the “2.0” of user groups, with the big difference that in the past were geeks talking on BBS and now are housewives explining to P&G how the perfect cleaning cloth should be!

    • RichK

      Business always took in suggestions; difference is doing it in public forum where customers can talk about the ideas with one another and the company — very powerful

    • Nice, J

      thanks for your insight, as ever. I added an idea of my own – voting on the quality of the drink / food you just bought plus customer service so the team has instant feedback on how they are doing hour by hour.

      But what I thought was particularly interesting is that they have chosen Salesforce as the database behind the site….
      Rebecca

    • VK

      Personal feedback: I love this, I got one vote in 10 minutes for the following idea, vote for me 😉

      Imagine a firm like Starbucks with millions of transactions a day.

      Imagine if once a week this firm challenged it’s customers to say: “keep the change for charity”

      If Kiva can change the world, how about coffee?

      Typical scenario: I go into Starbucks, I see the New York Times and I read about a village without schools, a hospital without respirators, a town destroyed by natural causes. Keep the change for charity!

      Imagine a firm with millions of transactions a day and 100 million customers donating their penny’s (or more) to completely alter the future lives of people.

      Starbucks, you want loyalty? give me my WIFI sure, but hey, this week the charity is to provide scholarships to kids in the country’s you get your coffee from.

    • All I have to say is FINALLY! Starbucks, as such a visible brand, can’t thrive without doing something this. I can only hope this is the product of Howard Schultz’s return to CEO status, and let’s all hope the free wifi idea is heard loud and clear. I’m going and voting right now.

      Note to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (my favorite so cal coffee chain) – don’t get left in the dust on this one.

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    • Do you think they’ll add a Community Manager type position? It’s hard to tell if either of the two ladies featured on the bottom of the home page will be interacting with customers?

    • It’s great to see Starbucks taking this big step toward community-driven innovation, and I think you’re right that this is only the start of companies taking this approach online. I launched IdeaStorm for Dell and can tell you that the real challenge is what happens next… putting those customers ideas into action!

    • I had time to go back & look more closely. It seems that they’re just listening.
      “We’ve got a team of more than 40 Idea Partners, whose specialties range from coffee to entertainment to community programs, ready to hear your ideas.”

      It’s a good start, but why not have a dialogue with their community? Will they be able to build community without interacting?
      just some thoughts…

    • Agreed Connie, but give them time. They probably are just dipping their toes in, unsure of what to do next.

      As they feel more comfortable, and see more community engagement, they’ll start to open up.

      takes time.

    • Thanks for the heads up on this exciting development, Jeremiah.

      Within minutes of surfing Starbuck’s new site, I was pulled right in and found myself signing up, voting on ideas, and thinking of new ones to add. I love it!! I’m a huge Starbucks fan/customer and admire their initiative.

      And, I totally agree with what you say on this social computing approach being one of the goals of web strategy.

    • Very interesting post.

      Retailers could take this one step further and set up a laptop right in their store that has a simple survey form for feedback with a section for ideas to improve service. No need to wait for the customer to go home and do it on his own computer.

    • @Jeremiah,

      re: white label social networking products that enable this sort of collaboration…

      Please see
      http://www.brightidea.com/webstorm/

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    • I browsed the Sales Force Site, it seems that one have to get the whole system CRM, etc… to use the idea blog, the size of my venture does not really need all that, I also checked out brightidea, do you know who else offers that capability w/o the commitment?

      Juan

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    • L. Trujillo

      I have so many ideas for starbucks but every time I write I never get a response. I now you guys can improve your bussiness. Especially now. The market has really caused no to go to starbucks. I used to see a lot of people go starbucks but not no more. I now the bussiness but you guys are missing it. My idea can really bring bussiness and pick it up for your bussiness.

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    • nice post, you have good ideas for starbucks

    • Debbie Johnson

      Starbucks needs to keep up with times and start offering Natural Stevia in packets as a sweetener alternative (the liquid is bitter) I have been carrying mine around in my purse for about 2 years now. It is past due!

    • RJB

      What can be done when some customers arrive regurlarly at a Starbucks in a group of 6 to 8, rearrange the furniture and make an inordinate amount of loud noise – incessant boisterous laughing to the point where other cistomers can't read a newspaper while having their breakfast. They act like temporary releases from a mental institution, since one of them shows up in a tee shirt, shorts and sandals without socks in sub-freezing temperatures, several others laugh extremely loud and continously no matter what others say.

    • RJB

      What can be done when some customers arrive regurlarly at a Starbucks in a group of 6 to 8, rearrange the furniture and make an inordinate amount of loud noise – incessant boisterous laughing to the point where other cistomers can't read a newspaper while having their breakfast. They act like temporary releases from a mental institution, since one of them shows up in a tee shirt, shorts and sandals without socks in sub-freezing temperatures, several others laugh extremely loud and continously no matter what others say.

    • Through the use of different social media we can now comment and suggest our ideas on the company especially the reputable ones like Starbucks. Starbucks has a twitter account and a website. You can post your suggestion, vote for your favorites, and share your ideas to the company.

    • Neil Savage

      Starbucks,
      Give us a break from those chemically derived alternative sweeteners (Equal, Sweet & Low, Splenda) and please start offering packets of Xylitol. Seach the web, and you will find that Xylitol is the only alternative sweetener with no negative (though some positive!) side effects — and it not an artifical sweetener! Xylitol is good for both diabetics and the weight conscious among us. Please make Xylitol available, and I will happily return to your coffee shops!
      Neil

    • richking

      Your employees should wear name tags

    • Well , the view of the passage is totally correct ,your details is really reasonable and you guy give us valuable informative post, I totally agree the standpoint of upstairs. I often surfing on this forum when I m free and I find there are so much good information we can learn in this forum!

    • Really your ideas are gr8..Nice post!!

    • None

      All locations should have Lactose free low fat milk as an option. I can not eat soy or regular milk so basically I can not enjoy any of your products ever! I am allergic to soy a need a healthy lactose free options that are not sugary artificial substitutes.

      I am sure other patrons are in the same situation.

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    • Grant krause

      You guys have some great Oatmeal. Personally tracked this site down to say I think it would be a good idea to make a larger size in the oatmeal, you’re welcome.