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Complaints, the Other Low Hanging Fruit October 10, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Consumer Marketing, Lead Generation.
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I was reading over at the MarketingProfs site on how Twitter Users Wants Brands to Respond to Their Complaints and couldn’t help but think ‘hell ya we do.’ As Ann Handley mentioned in a response tweet to me, “Absolutely! Seems like a low-hanging fruit kind of thing. (to me) Complain or praise – it goes both ways.”

I have used Twitter in a number of ways, and yes of course, I have used it to vent and ask for alternatives. There have only been two outcomes to tweets of this nature; no response or a competitor of the vendor in which I am complaining about reaches out to offer help.

No response – ever

About 3 weeks ago, I went to my usual Walgreens to fill a prescription. I was on my way home from the emergency room and just wanted to get the goods and get home. I was told that the wait was close to an hour. AN HOUR!! I immediately tweeted:

“I can get over 100 photos developed faster @Walgreens than I can fill a prescription. Priorities?”

Pretty in your face, huh? Why can I get photos developed faster than I can fill a prescription? Nothing about this seemed right to me, so I went public and posted a tweet. Now granted I don’t have much ‘klout’ in the medical field and my tweet may or may not persuade someone from going to Walgreens or returning but Walgreens said nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Not one peep and we are going on 3 weeks now!

This is clearly a missed opportunity by whoever mans the Walgreens Twitter account to reach out and either explain the situation to me or help me in some way. Even a simple ‘thank you for bringing this to our attention’ would have sufficed. But I was left hanging.

This is also a missed opportunity by CVS and RiteAid who could easily win my pharmacy business by responding with something along the lines of ‘prescriptions always filled within 20 minutes at CVS if you wait’. I got nothing.

Did anyone want to earn or keep my business? Is it because prescriptions are a ‘must-have’ item as opposed to a ‘nice to have’? Doesn’t make sense to me.

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure

Now take another example. At my previous company we were using Feedburner to manage blog email and RSS subscribers. I wasn’t happy. If I missed my scheduled window when Feedburner scanned for new content, I had to wait until the next day. If I cancelled the scan and sent it on demand then I was forced to always push content on demand unless I was ok with a double send (when they scan for new content, the system doesn’t recognize you already pushed something out, so it would push it again). I didn’t like it and it didn’t work for me.

At first I tweeted for help with Feedburner. Everyone seemed to be using it so maybe I just hadn’t figured out the functionality. ‘Can anyone help me with Feedburner?’ I got a response back almost immediately from Feedblitz (a competitor). Now I wasn’t even considering a switch but now the idea was in my head.

I could do on demand and schedule and migrate everything from Feedburner? All my questions were answered, in record time. Whether I emailed support or tweeted, someone was always there.

I was low hanging fruit and they grabbed onto me.

We ended up switching from Feedburner to Feedblitz and although there was a cost (SO miniscule), it did everything it needed to do and the support was phenomenal! Feedburner didn’t even care. Is it because their software is free and that I don’t deserve as much because I’m not a paying customer? How about taking a look at our AdWords budget and then considering how much you want to ignore me?

Nobody likes complaints especially when someone is complaining about our business, our people, our processes or our products. But as Ann said, whether its complaints or praise, there is an opportunity there. This is the best low hanging fruit there is. Someone actually went out of their way to say something about your brand, their experience with it and give you constructive criticism. Whether you take it or your competitors is up to you.

My tweet about Walgreens may be long, frickin gone in the tweet stream but it’s in the back of my mind every time I have a prescription to fill and that silence is way deadlier than what initiated the tweet to begin with.

Are you addressing complaints publicly? Taking them offline? Ignoring them completely?

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Comments»

1. Bridget Willard - October 10, 2011

You bring up fabulous points. 😀

christinapappas - October 13, 2011

Thanks Bridget!

I think every company should have their competitor’s setup as search terms in Twitter so they get alerts when they are mentioned. And – we should all be closely monitoring the conversation being had about our own brands. It’s amazing to me how uncaring some of these ‘big guys’ are.

Bridget Willard - October 28, 2011

That sounds like a great idea.


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