Here’s how fantastic Starbucks Customer Service is


One of their locations had their wifi go out quite a while ago–a couple of weeks before I went to New York, actually. I’ve used their wifi at several stores, so I knew there was a problem. When I brought it up with the manager, she tried to wave me off with “The internet gets slow when there are a lot of people online at once.”

No no, I explained. There’s actually no signal. See?

She glanced down at my screen and said the staff in the store don’t have any control over that, and the only thing to do was to call corporate headquarters to let them know.

So… I’m physically sitting in a Starbucks talking to a Starbucks employee, but the only way to fix the service they offer is for me, a customer, to call Starbucks. Presumably I’m supposed to use a cell phone I don’t actually own.

But fine. I can understand why they might take the computer technical stuff out of the hands of baristas, who are certainly busy enough without “Why can’t I send this picture of my cat to my email?” right? But I’m sure as shit not going to get on the phone for a frigging helpdesk call to a corporation about their own service.

And I go back there occasionally, and it hasn’t been fixed. It’s been well over a month, and last Friday there was a family on vacation who brought all their kids into the store, bought snacks and drinks, then tried to go online to plan their day. Imagine their surprise!

Finally, I got tired of listening to this same conversation going on around me every Friday, so yesterday I sent a customer feedback email to them about it, explaining that their 4th and Seneca location has a problem with its wifi and it’s been going on for weeks.

What does their reply say? Essentially: We get our internet service from AT&T, so please contact them at…

Yeah. I’m supposed to make a help desk call to their ISP for them. Heh. Can you reach your modem? What’s the model number? Are the lights on? Are any of them red or orange? Please turn it off, wait ten seconds, then turn it back on again. Did that fix the problem?

To sum up: When I notified a Starbucks employee inside Starbucks that their wifi was out, she–a Starbucks employee–told me to call Starbucks. When I contacted them weeks later by email, they suggested I call their ISP and report the problem for them.

It’s funny, but while I do work at Starbucks, I’m not actually working for Starbucks. Guess it’s their new business model: crowd-sourcing your IT to irritated customers.

Update: Twenty-one minutes after posting, the CIO of Starbucks drops me a comment saying he’ll look into it. We have some good stuff in this future of ours.

7 thoughts on “Here’s how fantastic Starbucks Customer Service is

  1. Sorry for your experience here with our wifi and customer service. I will make sure we get that access-point worked out and see why the signal strength was low. Thank you for alerting us to the issue.

    Stephen Gillett
    CIO, Starbucks

  2. Wes

    I don’t how far you want to walk, but there is a Tully’s in the 2 Union Bldg that offers free wi-fi. Not a fan of their coffee though. There is also a Starbucks in that bldg, maybe a hundred feet from the Tully’s…
    That’s on like 6th and Union.

  3. Wes

    I like that spot though; right outside the Tully’s are some comfortable chairs and couches. And sometimes there is a guy in a suit playing the piano.

    Free wifi and a comfortable chair go well together. The piano guy doesn’t hurt either…

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