Unhappy Customers Don’t Need the Internet to Hurt You

I’ve written several times on the ways that the web has given consumers unprecendented influence on how companies are perceived. An angry customer an internet connection can tell his side of the story to thousands by posting it on a blog, a consumer forum, or the company’s own web site.

I’ve done it myself — hello, Superbookdeals!

Some consumers are still doing it the old-fashioned way. In the Oregonian’s “Complaint Desk” column, Laura Gunderson tells the story of David Haskew, a cable customer in Cornelius, Oregon. Haskew was unable to resolve an audio problem through the company’s regular channels (he chose not to name the company when recounting the story)

Finally, after seeing one of the company’s trucks drive by, he got an idea. That afternoon he knocked a sign into his front yard saying, “An unhappy customers of (mystery company name) lives here”. Maybe, he thought, an employee would see the sign and get the message to a big shot.

Sure enough, he said, an executive called within 48 hours. A service call was scheduled and, 10 minutes later, the problem was fixed.

So today’s lesson is simple. Yes, you should closely monitor web chatter about your company. But don’t forget to look for lawn signs.


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