So I am the queen of writing letters when I feel I have had a poor customer service experience (I write them when I have a good experience,too). I have written such letters for friends and family and I have been almost unilaterally pleased with the responses from companies. Home Depot agreed that having to go to their store 42 times for a bathroom renovation was worth some rebated money. The Ritz in Naples, FL offered my mother in law a brunch on the house to make up for a disappointing dining experience. My mother recently reminded me of a letter I wrote at 8 years old complaining about a Tootsie Pop that was tootsie-less. I even taped said stick to the letter. I still remember getting the coupon for a free replacement bag and feeling vindicated.
But now customer service letter writing has a new twist – you don’t even have to send your letter anymore to get resolution. For instance, a blog that I read pretty regularly called A Day in My Life chronicles the trials and tribulations of a very cool California mother of three whose husband has been deployed for the better part of the last year. A few days ago, she wrote about a horrific customer service experience she had going to Sea World with her teenager and toddler twins. In a nutshell, the admissions staff wouldn’t give her the military rate for her family due to a technicality even though she has been there many times in the past and been given the rate without question. So she vented on her blog in the form of a letter to Sea World but life got in the way and she never got around to sending it. Well wouldn’t you know that somehow, someway that post made it into the right hands at Sea World! Within a day they contacted her to rectify her disappointment and basically buy back her love with a free pass. It worked and a new blog was posted cheerleading the gesture . In turn the 32 people who had commented on her original post called off the dogs.
What does this mean for brands like yours? If you ask me it means making sure that someone on your staff scours the blogosphere and message boards to see if/when your brand is getting trashed and then does the right thing. When women have a good experience with a brand they tell 4-7 people but when it is a bad experience she tells 13 and will keep re-telling the story for 22 years! I have absolutely no plans to go to Sea World in the next decade but when I do I will feel good about them versus feeling mad.
share the love: