Worth Reading: Making Customers Attack

October 6, 2010

Mitch Joel just wrote an interesting blog post that I think is really worth reading: Making Customers Attack

I recently wrote a post called Twitter Brand Bounty Hunters about how people should respond to brand bullying and negative comments — if at all, with a Price Chopper communication fail as the example. Mitch Joel’s article is quite relevant to that and touches upon the new discussion we should be having: whether to respond to negative comments on social media channels at all.

Ask me this question two months ago, and I may not have agreed… but a conversation with the brilliant Ed Lee made me say “hmm” when, about a month back, he challenged my thinking with a very simple question [rephrased]: are we teaching people to lash out against brands online?

Its no question that we teach people how to treat us and I always think it is interesting (and sad) when companies respond to customer service issues better and faster via twitter than they do via their designated CS channels.

But I think it’s also worth noting how one should tweet to brands for customer support. When my attempts via a company’s designated CS channels fails, I usually resort to twitter — but in a DM, or if the company is not following me back, a simple tweet of, “hey — really unhappy with service and would love to DM you.”

Don’t get me wrong — I’ve made the mistake of lashing out against brands online, and as I explained, I learned the hard way NOT to continue doing so.

But I really love the rationale in Mitch’s post as to why one shouldn’t lash out and I think its a far better answer than mine!

In both instances, I have intimate knowledge of these two companies and know that they both respond to issues immediately online, but I chose not to. Why?

  1. You never know who you are going to work with. As the President of Twist Image, I can never know which brands may become client opportunities. Pushing that further, you never know when the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) for Company A might move over to Company B. If Company B is a major client and this individual remembers that spleen busting rant on Twitter, they may be inclined to do an “agency review.” Nobody wants that.
  2. I don’t like to leverage this community for my personal gain. By complaining, it forces the brand to take a look at who I am and who I am connected to. I would not want any kind of favorable resolution simply because I have a small semblance of a community, or because I write a newspaper column. I don’t write a column or build this community so that brands will pay attention to me when I’m not satisfied. On top of that, you are not here to watch me publicly deal with a customer service issue. You’re here to be a media hacker along with me. You’re not here to be a part of my personal bidding.

What are your thoughts on the topic? Let me know by leaving your comments below!

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One Response to “Worth Reading: Making Customers Attack”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ed Lee, Melissa Smich. Melissa Smich said: Worth Reading: Making Customers Attack http://bit.ly/a6eOTq (feat. @edlee @mitchjoel ) […]


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