The Corporate Law Group

Customers Rule!

We read with interest a recent Business Week item about Vigilante Consumers. Some conventional wisdom holds that certain small customers are not worth any customer service. That school of thought focuses on a few large customers and let’s the vagaries of the companies product sort out the rest. In this possibly misguided application of the 80-20 rule, if the product or service works then great, if not, let the customer go elsewhere. Who cares? But an interesting combination of blogs, specialty websites and youtube is changing all that. One site is actually turning into a useful Comcast customer service vehicle. Posters are encouraged to keep their posts civil and to include their account numbers. Comcast apparently trolls the site regularly and fixes the problems raised by the posters. We can see this evolving into both (i) customers using the site as a method of first instance in reaching Comcast and (ii) Comcast shutting down whatever customer service department is failing them so badly and possibly hiring the blog as its customer service contact point. Another story has a man posting a youtube video of him sledge hammering his Apple mac notebook since Apple won’t fix it. Other websites are offering executive contact information so that you can send executive suite carpet bombs that might get someone’s attention. We say, “Party on Wayne.” We were told a long time ago that if you do something right, maybe the person would tell their spouse but if you do something wrong or treat someone badly, they will tell the next 100 people they meet. Consumers deserve more and we’re glad to see them using guerilla tactics to get it. We are strong market believers and defenders. Part of what we love about the market is that you are not forced to do business with anyone with whom you do not want to do business. Markets work best when efficient and the more information the market has the more efficient it will be. We trust the market participants and leave it up to them to determine which criteria are most important. If companies are going to provide shoddy customer service experiences, we say let them go under and companies that care about their customers fill the breach. So which companies did Business Week rate best? A sampling includes L.L. Bean, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Chick-Fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, and Jetblue.
Paul Marotta

Leave a Reply