When they switched to AT&T as their provider, they made a big announcement and promotion about how now iPhone users could use their wifi for free for two hours per day.
Great idea. In my opinion, the fact that they charge for wifi at all is a bit ridiculous, but reasonable people can disagree with that one.
I have, on many occasions, tried to use the “free” wifi at Starbucks and never once succeeded.
Why? It takes too long.
When you’re talking about a service for a mobile phone, how do you think most people will tend to use it? Probably to quick check the news or their email while they’re waiting in line for their $4 cup of coffee. Sure, there are people that will sit and use up their whole two hours, but I’m guessing that most people are just using a few minutes while they’re in the store in the morning.
But, at Starbucks, you have to go through an entire login process before you can even use the wifi. By that time, I usually just say, “forget it, I’ll do it later.”
Is this nitpicking? Maybe, but in my mind, if a company is built on experience, then the experience should be consistent. Putting a barrier in people’s way for something as simple as wifi seems to me to fall outside the type of experience that Starbucks should be working toward.