So I bought Mr. Ng a smoker for Christmas. It arrived about two weeks in advance and he used it for the first time on Superbowl Sunday. Except that a couple of hours into some ribs the side box door fell off and couldn’t be repaired. So I contacted the place I ordered it from, explained what happens and asked if I could have a replacement part.
“No,” they told me. I have to report all damage and request returns within a week of receiving the smoker. Sorry. They can’t do anything for me now. Never mind that there was no visible damage when I received the smoker and never mind that the damage happened once the smoker got some heat into it. I didn’t use it right away and thus there weren’t talking to me.
End of discussion.
I posted my experience with this company, without calling them out, on Facebook and Google+. I thought we could get into a discussion about why this was a customer service #fail and what the company should have done to rectify the situation. Instead, just about every comment was asking me to publicly call out the company. My communities said it was my duty to name the product and brand so no one would have this experience again.
I disagree and here’s why:
- This may be a one time problem. There’s a good chance our smoker might be the only defective smoker in the batch. I can’t call a product out as shoddy if I’m the only one with an issue.
- I’m not done with them yet. I only spoke with one person. She could have been having a bad day. She could have been someone disgruntled or she could have been the cleaning lady, I don’t know. However, I can try again and see if I can have a conversation with someone in a different position or department. You see, the right person can make all the difference and I’d rather have a good relationship with a brand than a bad relationship with a brand.
- I don’t want to be that girl. I think some people are social media bullies and use their reach as a “my way or I’ll make your life a public relations nightmare” tool. I’m not going to publicly call anyone out, and possible risk a company crisis, unless I’m sure there’s no other recourse.
- My reputation is on the line. If I start calling people out after one brief, bad customer service experience I get a reputation for being someone who tends to call people out if she doesn’t get her way. It makes people not want to do business with me personally or professionally.
I think there are times when I could use my social media powers to gain more leverage, but I like to choose my battles. I see people complain online about some really dumb, petty things. It’s going to get to the point where brands aren’t going to care about what people are saying about them online because some of them are silly nitpicks having nothing to do with the brand at all.
When will I call out a brand?
- When all avenues are exhausted and I have no other recourse
- When they insult or belittle
- When they’re offensive
- When they’re bullies
The social networks are powerful tools. A rogue Tweet can go a long way. I don’t want to create a headache for any brand unless I’m sure they’re deserving.
Am I wrong?