TVNewser AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

PR Fail: Starbucks Says ‘No Soy for You!’

Today in Look Before You Jump News: Starbucks seems to have gone the way of Netflix in making service changes without checking with customers first–and now its PR team has a bit of a backlash on its hands.

The coffee giant has some notoriously loyal customers, and its “My Starbucks Rewards” program has been extremely popular. Company publicists just announced a few modifications set to begin on October 16th in an effort to encourage even more customer loyalty. The changes include birthday freebies, smartphone discounts (customers previously had to wait for postcards) and some kind of gold star system that we don’t really understand.

Sounds good, right? Not really. The shift that caused an Internet uproar seems tiny at first glance: Starbucks will no longer offer complimentary soy or flavored syrup shots. We didn’t even realize that the chain charged extra for soy milk.

Well, it turns out that Starbucks has more than a few lactose-intolerant customers–and they are not happy with the changes! Check out the comments on the company’s Facebook page via our friends at The Hoffman Agency for examples of previously loyal customers who have taken offense at this new policy. Seems like the company should have tested this new proposal with their fans first, no?

We’re not saying that massive chains like Starbucks should conduct large-scale customer surveys before they make policy changes that would affect their daily caffeine supply, but the chain should certainly take note of this…development in their next strategy meeting.

How much could a little soy milk cost, anyway?

Mediabistro Course

Social Media 101

Social Media 101Get hands-on social media training in our online boot camp, Social Media 101! Starting September 4, social media and marketing experts will help you determine the social media sites that matter most to you, based on your personal and professional goals. Register before July 31 and get $50 OFF with early bird pricing. Register now!