The artifacts of unhappiness

Two blog posts on this blog have given me first-hand confirmation of the staying power that an unhappy customer’s beefs can have on a brand.

On September 14, 2005 I posted about Amazon’s lack of an easy customer service link. A month later some misguided, but angry soul, doubtlessly searching for relief, found that post and made a comment in the belief I was Amazon’s customer service blog.

“Please refund the $19.91 balance shown on my account and close my account. I don’t want to do business with you any longer. “

Last summer I vented my spleen over Southwest Airline’s customer service after getting stranded for the second time in a month. That post, due to the headline with the hot word “Sucks”, still has legs and garners comments long after the post scrolled into the archives. Why? Google “southwest sucks” and see who comes up second.
To any unbelievers in an organization that don’t believe blogged complaints have a erosive effect on your brand — listen up. Any posted negativity is going to get crawled, indexed, and put into the permanent record for the next unhappy person to find. While a blogged beef may not be representative of mass consensus, it has one single salient edge — it’s treated the same as any review by Consumer Reports, Travel and Leisure, or any traditional medium, last as long, and arguably has the same potential effect.

Listen to this stuff and respond. This is the engagement that matters.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “The artifacts of unhappiness”

  1. So much for my theory about Blog posts being weighted by date – that comes through google clearly with the title “The Amazon.Com Customer Service Page at” – no wonder the clueless pick it up.

    Here’s a good email I got a little while back, from one of my webmaster@ email addresses (for the record I don’t work for American Movie Classics, but he thought he was sending to them). The lesson is simple: if you want to complain, be sure you’re at the right site…

    Today, 02Oct06, you had a scheduling mix-up and the movie ‘No Way Out’ did not come on as scheduled. You had a Kevin Costner movie on instead, which was a VERY good movie. During the commercial break someone must have noticed the mistake, so they stopped the Costner movie and started ‘No Way Out’ in the middle!

    If you see you’ve made a mistake in the schedule, leave it! Viewers are watching whatever you put on and to just stop it after we’ve been watching it is just bad customer service. I, and probably others, wanted to see the end of the Costner movie!

    Thanks a lot!

  2. Krista Summitt – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Krista is the host of the hilarious and must-listen Wine and Popcorn podcast about ABC's Scandal, as well as Wine, Fashion, Music, and Social Media. By day, Krista is a Chief Storyteller (aka Content Marketing Strategist). She's currently taking guitar lessons again and hopes to run her first half-marathon within a year. She's also a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, a DJ, and NY Times Crossword fanatic.
    Kristalogy says:

    Agree…I’ve always heard on average 22 people will hear about a bad customer experience when it is all said and done.

  3. It’s like the cards the Hell’s Angels were rumored to hand out back in the day – “When we do good, no one remembers, when we do bad, no one forgets.”

  4. Dear Sir,

    My order from October 19 has arrived but I wish to express my displeasure with some of the items.

    The Green Wormie Bath Shower Massager  is made so poorly that the green color has begun to rub off on my skin; my anus now looks like I am part Grinch. As well, the massager is two sizes too small. Cindy Loo Hoo agrees.

    I also ordered “300 Great Recipes You Can’t Mess Up” Unfortunately, I have. The blue cheese with iceburg lettuce salad I made, consisting of 1 head of lettuce and 1 bottle of blue cheese, looks nothing like the picture in the book. Nowhere in the recipe was I instructed to remove the plastic wrapper from the lettuce head nor was I instructed to use a bowl. For three days, my cats have been licking the plastic wrapped, blue cheese covered lettuce head that has been sitting on my counter. It is starting to smell bad. The book is obviously full of errors, typos, and omissions rendering it useless to all except the most advanced cooks.

    Finally, the Speedo bathing suit you sent me  is too large. While I clearly ordered the smallest size, there has obviously been a manufacturing defect as I look like a Ken doll from the front. And, to make matters worse, the back has begun to turn green.

    Please send me my RMA number so I can return these obviously defective items. I expect better from Amazon customer service.

    Thank you

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