Last night, I was talking on the phone with my best friend from high school. She refuses to join Facebook – despite the fact that about 1/4 of the members of our graduating class are communing there and despite considerable pressure from friends who still live close by for her to join the social media revolution.
My friend cited an interesting anecdote as a compelling reason for not joining Facebook . A woman in her social circle was having serious marital problems and was considering divorce. Despite the fact that this woman had set her Facebook profile to “private” – one of her friends posted a well meaning “wall to wall” communication which effectively broadcast as fact the possibility that this woman would soon be filing for divorce. This news quickly jumped”offline” as church members and co-workers who were friends of Facebook started burning up the telephone lines with this juicy piece of gossip. This is how my friend found out – via an “old school” social media tool: the telephone.
So my friend’s reasoning for not joining Facebook is simple: there’s no way for her to control her privacy there because there’s no way to control what other people are saying there. Even though my friend can control what she says – she can’t control what others say and that is reason enough for her to “sit out” when it comes to joining the social media revolution online.
While my friend can decide to “opt out” of the whole social media game to preserve her online reputation – it’s not an option for business owners. When you make a sale to a blogger – ready or not, your business must be prepared to enter the wild, wonderful world of social media.
Long ago, you could tell yourself that because customers weren’t calling, they didn’t have any complaints. However, it’s important to note that your customers have NEVER contacted you first when they were unhappy with your product or service. They have ALWAYS bitched to their friends and family first. The first course of action has NEVER been to pick up the phone to call the company.
What’s new now is how easy it is to spread the word via social media.
In the days of picking up the phone to communicate, the tales of customer mistreatment would have to be carried one person at a time – like leaky buckets of water. Today – social media can carry those tales of customer service and deliver them with incredible intensity.
I’m not saying your business has to be perfect to thrive in this new world of social media. No person – no business – is perfect. None of us is able to deliver 100% perfection in the world of customer service.
With that said, it takes a LOT to frustrate a customer to the point of investing the time and expense Dave Carroll did when he created a social media shit storm with the “United Breaks Guitars” music video. That wasn’t the result of a single “dropped the ball” in the customer service department.. it was the result of consistent and blatant disrespect of the customer.
Fortunately for Dave Carroll – he was creative enough to create a music video. Two years ago when a woman was frustrated by Comcast’s blatant lack of respect – she went berserk with a hammer in the Comcast offices. A new meaning emerged for the term “Comcastic“. Instead of meaning a satisfied cable customer, the word began to take on a new meaning –
“willing to delay or deny services to which customers are entitled.”
Is it any wonder that Comcast no longer USES that term as part of their marketing message?
When these tales strike a collective nerve – instead of receiving customer feedback one glass of water at a time – a business can be overwhelmed by a flood of customer feedback. This flood of feedback can be overwhelming – almost like trying to take a drink from a fire hose.
I’ll illustrate this with a clip from the movie UHF from the twisted mind of Weird Al-