Before we were all connected in cyberspace, customers cheesed off at businesses would tell up to 20 other people their tale of woe. But with the Internet, it’s a whole new ball game. Check out this article from ABCNEWS.com. And then click on the link below to read the rest of the article and a sample video of what angry consumers are posting on the Internet. If your customer service is less than stellar, this piece with scare you into rethinking what customer care really means.
Consumers Use Web Vids to Fight Back
Many Consumers Are Taking Companies to Task Via the Web
A New Jersey woman, Jessie, was unhappy with the way a car dealer treated her mother while buying a new car. So, Jessie turned on her video camera and went into the dealership. While taping, Jessie returns the car keys to an unsuspecting salesman and cautions other customers against purchasing a vehicle.
"Don't buy a car here," she warns as she exits the dealership.
A few days later, she uploaded the video onto YouTube, labeling it "Beware of Brad Benson."
Brad Benson is a former offensive lineman for the New York Giants and the owner of the Monmouth Junction, N.J., car dealership. We met with him last week and watched Jessie's video together. When asked whether it upset him, Benson replied, "I would love to throw a bucket of ice on her. … She deserves it, and I don't mean Gatorade either."
Benson, like business owners across the country, has been forced to face the powerful impact angry consumers can have on the Web. Benson denies Jessie's allegations and insists his dealership did nothing wrong in its dealings with her mother. He acknowledges, however, that customers' rights to bring cameras into businesses and record their experience online, "As long as their facts are correct," he said.
Keeping Them Honest
Businesses may not like it, but they better get used to it as more and more consumers are uploading. Michael Whitford posted a smash-and-bash video titled "Macbook Destruction" in which he demolishes his malfunctioning laptop.
A systems engineer from Chandler, Ariz., Whitford was distraught when his new Apple Macbook konked out only six months after he purchased it. When Apple refused to fix the computer for free under his extended warranty, Whitford took matters into his own hands.
With a camera and a sledgehammer, Whitford went to work, explaining his gripe to the audience before systematically reducing the Macbook to smithereens. He posted the video on the Web site consumerist.com and within four days Apple contacted him, apologizing for the problem and offering up a brand new $1,700 computer.
Meghann Marco, editor of consumerist.com, the site that earned "Macbook Destruction" the attention of Apple, feels validated when companies take note of consumer complaints.
"It makes me feel good when any of our customer complaints get resolved. I think it's really great to see that, and that's why I like my job."
But it's not only complaint videos; consumers are now part of a global community where they share information about products both good and bad on Web sites like expotv.com and consumerist.com. They get hundreds of posts a day from consumers all over the world. The videos run the gamut from simple vacuum cleaner demonstrations to minivan reviews.
Click here to read the read of the article and watch the accompanying video:
The holidays are right around the corner. There's no time like the present to check and recheck your store policies. Nuke the No! No! No!'s. Make sure that ALL of your policies are customer friendly. Even when you have to say no, you can say it in a non-offense, customer-keeping way.
Now is also a good time to hold a staff meeting about what good service means. Your definition might be different from your employees. Get a good discussion going, and strongly outline what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. It's your business. You need to insure that customers are treated well, even when you are not around.