I have been to Starbucks locations all around the world (Asia, Europe, Australia, North America), and over a thousand times (although I haven’t counted I will assume an average of 3 times per week for 10 years = 3*52*10 = 1,560 times). Given this fact, I have the right to write this blog.
Over the past few months, I have been deliberately returning to coffee shops other than Starbucks. The reason is that I prefer to go to places that have easily accessible (i.e. easy login process – code posted on the wall) and free WiFi. And believe it or not, Starbucks Canada, where I live, does not provide easily accessible, free WiFi service to its customers. My user experience at Starbucks has been hampered. Granted you can log into their “hotspot” WiFi, but you have to pay, or have to be a customer of a certain telecommunications provider. So, in my view, that is not an easy log-in process, and excludes the majority of us.
This is not a boycott. I am not stating that I will not go to Starbucks.
But I am saying that I will go to Starbucks less frequently, due to the fact that Starbucks Canada is not providing this service that has HUGE VALUE, and that, in my understanding, COSTS VERY LITTLE TO PROVIDE.
Some small things like this might destroy a smaller competitor, and they won’t realize until it’s too late. Fortunately for Starbucks, that likely will not be the case.
If I have a choice between a coffee shop that has easily accessible and free WiFi service, and one that doesn’t, I will choose the one that does. And I’m sure that I am not the only one.
THE BOTTOM LINE: In businesses across the globe, there are opportunities to do many seemingly little things, at small costs, that greatly enhance the user experience. I will take this as a learning experience to both my clients and to my own businesses.