Tuesday, 5 June 2012

What's In A Name?

Jeff Bezos, the man behind the largest online retail colossus on the planet urges companies to remember one vital business tip: always "obsess over customers". Our friendly, American, barista formerly known as Starbucks and now only illustrated by the iconic logo strongly subscribes to the same ideology. Consequently, my morning coffee and afternoon 'Frapp' routine has changed. I am now more than a scribble on a plastic cup. My existence has broadened from an earlier MCCF* or a GBA** to my true name. Well sort of.

I cheerily made my way into the welcoming world of the twin-tailed Siren (Mermaid in common parlance) and sure enough, swiftly at the heels of my order, I was asked for my name. Now, Anupriya is a rare mouthful even for an Indian name so I decisively settled on Anu also taking the time to smile and spell it out. I was delirious with relief that it would take a retail outlet quite a bit of effort to fudge that one up. I was wrong.

As the incriminating (though admittedly delicious!) pictures above demonstrate, my three letter abbreviated moniker was altered to ENO or perhaps, if we are more forgiving, ENU. I love my provider of coffee. I really do. However I struggle to reconcile myself with my new name that GSK uses to peddle "fast acting effervescent antacids" internationally.

Strike 1 dearly loved provider of all things caffeine.


In all seriousness though, I get why Starbucks has a sudden interest in customer names. The marketing strategy of increasing customer engagement, one first-name at a time makes sense. One of the easiest rapport building strategies employed by retailers, using a customer's name undoubtedly personalises the transaction and the overall customer experience. I wonder how accurate is the quantification of the adverse coverage of misspelled names, annoyance of extra time spent at the tills, and curiously (thankfully rarely!) the outrage from some very guarded customers who, all said and done, just don't want to give away their identities.

*   Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino
**  Grande Black Americano

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have invented a dozen Starbucks names!