Time to Make the Customers

dd_panel.jpgAs a native New Englander, loving Dunkin’ Donuts is in my genes, and I don’t understand how people could ever defame our coffee and baked-goods overlord. Apparently, Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t understand these people either. Boston Daily’s nearest Dunkin’ franchise had a stack of fliers seeking young adults for the Dunkin’ VIP Panel Online Community. Since I don’t sit on any other boards and I am a young adult (barely), I figured I’d enjoy the “cool rewards” promised me and make a visit to the website.

First up is the dreaded question: “On average, how often do you visit a Dunkin’ Donuts store?”

This is like when your doctor asks you how many drinks a week you average. Do you state the truth and risk the diatribe about alcoholism, heart disease, and Promises, or do you lowball the figure and potentially risk your health? I lowball and say 1-3 times a week.

Next up, Dunkin’ admits it’s cool with our open relationship. “We know you love Dunkin’ Donuts, but understand that occasionally you go somewhere else for your coffee and baked goods purchases.” Phew. It’s such a relief to know Dunkin’ knows I sometimes enjoy a Frappuccino.

After some boring census information about where I live, work, and when I was born, a huge menu of questions comes up about how I see myself. This is an awful lot of soul-searching. I’d better get an iced coffee out of this.

After some more in-depth probing about what I like to order when I go to Dunkin’ Donuts and if my family asks for my recommendations for new products (they do), I get to the last screen and am heartbroken by what I find:

Thank you for your interest! We’re happy to report that, because there are so many Dunkin’ fans, response to our invite has been overwhelming. We’re not so happy to report, however, that we can’t take everybody who applies, and still give proper attention to our panelists. So … at this time we’ve had to put your name on a “waiting list.” We promise that in the event that a space opens up, we’ll re-contact you. One more time: Thank you so much for caring about Dunkin’!; it is loyal customers like you who help us make our brand better every day.

No free iced coffee? No “cool rewards?” I’ve been wait listed for my brilliant marketing insights? I am deeply hurt, Dunkin’. If you need me, I’ll be sobbing into my Starbucks latte until the wounds heal.