I am a coffee shop fiend.

For many of us, we likely spend a fair amount of time in coffee shops. Whether it’s the atmosphere, the smell of freshly ground coffee or merely the free WiFi. Coffee shops are my third most checked in location on Foursquare. I am a coffee shop fiend.

Which ever coffee shop I choose, whether it be a national chain like Starbucks, a regional chain like Caribou Coffee or a local location such at Stone House Coffee in Nisswa (www.stonehousecoffee.com), I always try to observe the environment for what makes their location unique.

In Minnesota, until recently sold to a German investment group, we were the proud home of Caribou Coffee. I’ve watched them grow up over the years, struggling against Starbuck’s. It seemed like on every demographically desirable corner, there was one or both competing for my coffee dollar. While I’m typically a cheap coffee date (just a large cup of decaf coffee), I usually start my work day walking in to a Caribou Coffee near The Poem Home (find that one on Foursquare).

Perhaps a year or so ago, I started to notice Caribou paint a section of a wall with a black paint that doubled as an effective chalk board. Regardless of the size or area, multi-colored letters spelling out CHALK THOUGHTS greeted me daily.

Usually there was a question that would hang around for a day or two. The question in the picture of above was “If you were on an island, what would you have with you?”

A great question to ask. My spouse, my kids, my dog…perhaps an iPhone with a solar charger. Regardless, I was in a no win position with what I would choose as I could only choose one item. As a pondered this question, I noticed that Caribou some recent tag lines on their merchandise stating, “Sip responsibly.”

While I don’t profess to be the greatest recycler, I try when I can and more importantly I thought that this would be one of my CHALK THOUGHTS that the social media marketing folks at Caribou Coffee might appreciate.

And guess what happened? Nothing.

Some of you reading this, might simply state, “Well, duh.” Sometimes I do myself, but when I re-read an article on customer response rates and telling brands to “Stop Ignoring Your Customers” (http://bit.ly/1595ldx), I chuckled to myself.

In the article, a recent survey of 1,3000 Twitter consumers found that 71% of the time, consumers did not receive a response rate on complaints on Twitter. Doing my poor man’s math, this means 29% of customers received a response on Twitter. Interesting.

My experience, with positive thoughts and poems and haikus, basically praising their brands, has been well below a 29% rate. All at the same time, pushing out messages to brands and expanding their reach. Interesting.

Based on the number of responses I’ve received from Caribou Coffee, I very rarely write any more CHALK THOUGHTS, take a picture and tweet out these positive message to Caribou Coffee. Interesting.

Perhaps I should start complaining. Interesting.

As published on Medium

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