Have you tried Square to pay for your coffee at Starbucks? If your experience was anything like what FastCompany’s correspondents and volunteers have gone through, you might not want to try it again.
The site today published an extensive piece documenting the futile attempts of various Starbucks baristas across the country to get the much-ballyhooed Square payment system to work as promised.
FastCompany’s Austin Carr reports …
At worst, the service simply did not work. On average, however, the user experience was buggy and awkward, with Starbucks employees seemingly more confused about how Square works than their own customers. Our evidence is anecdotal —and our sample size small — but the results of our tests are telling, especially given the reputations Starbucks and Square have for customer service. It serves to show that however refined a user experience might be on a local level, scaling such a streamlined UX all at once is borderline impossible.
The site quotes Adam Brotman, Starbucks chief digital officer, saying that scanner calibration issues were contributing to the problem, but the company has since rolled out a fix. In at least one case, FastCompany visited a licensed store, vs. a company-owned store, which apparently contributed to the problem in that situation.
Starbucks and Square announced the partnership last year, along with a large investment by Starbucks in the mobile payments processor.
We’ve contacted Starbucks to see if it has more to say on the topic.