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This post is entirely dedicated to the Starbucks customer experience. Be ready for a rant and a rave for the coffee store that just recently opened up at Gardemoen airport, Oslo towards the last quarter of 2012.
The rave is directed at the bright bulb in the customer experience or service innovation team that decided to back the idea of really nailing customer need so sqaurely on the head! Thats right I am talking about the one issue that no Mobile Phone manufacturer has been able to address…the battery recharge issue. Starbucks has graciously offered the PowerKiss at the airport coffee outlet in Oslo for a small deposit of Kr200 (which is somewhere close to GBP20). Built into the dark wood stained table, idea for communal sit down coffee consumption that starbucks is finally getting better at, is a charge point that when in proximity with the Powerkiss that has a ‘jack’ for your phone is able to charge the phone ‘wirelessly’. There are a few brands that just ‘get it’ and I have to tilt my hat towards Starbucks for understanding the traveller’s needs on this occasion.
Now for the rant. The taking of customer names on the coffee cup may have theoretically been a great idea but here is offering the Starbucks team some food, or drink, for thought:
– The activity looses its charm for regular customers; who are often disappointed that their favourite Barrista does not remember who they are
– At airports where the number of foreigners with difficult to pronounce leave alone spell names can often lead to more frustration with Barrista’s desperately trying to spell names right or disappointing customers with the wrong name

Insight: Its not just corporate brands that have an opportunity to understand customer needs. While recently traveling through Rio’s airport I was pleasantly surprised by the number of power outlets that were available to travelers and that too next to a comfortable seat! Running out of power remains a perpetual problem for all phones so until a terrific runs for 200 hours battery is designed there is a great opportunity for all brands across all sectors to ease this pain point.

Insight: Know your customer does not mean know their name! Not all solutions travel well across the pond. At some point large corporate brands may consider market research post implementation of an idea to understand its impact on the customer experience.

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