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Social Media and Customer Dialog Management at Starbucks

John Gallaugher, Sam Ransbotham


While listening to and learning from customers has long been recognized as important, social media are fundamentally changing interaction between firms and customers. To help understand this changing interaction, we conceptualize customer dialog management in a Megaphone, Magnet, and Monitor (3-M) framework, with the Megaphone representing firm-to-customer communication, the Magnet customer-to-firm, communication and the Monitor customer-to-customer interaction. This framework provides a structure for understanding the opportunities and risks presented by social media. We describe an in-depth case study of Starbucks, a firm widely regarded as a leader in corporate use of social media. Using the 3-M framework, we identify the challenges social media introduce and offer case-based examples of how to manage these challenges. Based on our analysis, we provide guidelines that can assist firms in navigating the evolving environment of social-media-based customer dialog.

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ISSN 1540-1960