(Don’t Do This) Starbucks On Android: The App That Takes

Starbucks Android App Battery Killer

With apologies for its quality (remember, there’s no way to do a screen grab of an Android SmartPhone, so I needed to take a picture to show you this), look at this shot illustrating my SmartPhone’s battery usage during a short period yesterday. See that 13% consumed by the official Starbucks App?

I never once used the Starbucks App during that period.

I went for a run late yesterday, and as I always do, I turned on Audiogalaxy—no, not Google Music—to listen to music streamed from my computer, and used an App (in this case Cardiotrainer) to report on the status of my workout. Both of these Apps are battery hogs, and with good reason: AudioGalaxy is pulling music over my SmartPhone connection constantly, and CardioTrainer is using the GPS in my Droid to check and recheck my position every few seconds and do calculations on my progress.

What did the Starbucks App do to eat all that battery? I have no idea.

Starbucks came way late to the Android App party. There have been several “Starbucks Apps” available on Android for some time now, and it’s strange that Starbucks took so long to release their own official Starbucks App. But it’s out now. All 11.4 MB of can’t-even-be-moved-to-your-SD-Card-and-runs-continuously-in-the-background-doing-absolutely-nothing of it!

This boggles the mind.

Starbacks, a company that’s shown a clear understanding that it’s in the customer service business—not the coffee business—for quite some time, has released an App for Android SmartPhones that’s so bad it would be enough to chase customers away … you know, if they weren’t Starbucks.

You’d think that after taking as long to release the Starbucks Android App as they did, Starbucks would have been able to make it take up a much smaller amount of users’ precious storage space. Or allow it to be moved to your memory card. And since the App does little more than find Starbucks locations and display a bar code on your SmartPhone that scanners at Starbucks can use to take money from your account, why is it running in the background and what can it be doing to eat that much juice?

It’s just sloppy. And disrespectful of Starbucks customers. The Starbucks Android App is truly the opposite of customer service.

This from a company that not only gives away their WiFi, no strings attached, but pays other companies so that their customers can have free access to otherwise paid content? A company that all but gave WiFi away when everybody else was still charging for it?

We’re not talking about the dichotomy that is Customer Service at Apple. There was no master plan that led to Starbucks looking bad to a few people as they did something that looked good to many. In fact, it seems there was no planning at all. Starbucks has simply been careless, and in doing so (and spending money developing their Android App in the process), made themselves look silly.

Customer Service takes many forms. So does business change. When you try to change your business by doing customer service carelessly, you hurt everyone.

Except your competition. Nice job, Starbucks. I think you’ve punished yourself enough; I won’t even bother enshrining you on The Answer Guy’s Customer Service Wall of Shame.