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Friday 30 May 2008

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Consumer-generated media is becoming very popular, with the number of blogs, forums, columns and website polls increasing across almost every medium possible. And the great thing about consumer-generated media? People can say whatever they like. Consumer-generated media is basically an evolved form of word of mouth.

A 76-year-old retired nurse felt her telephone company had not installed her service properly and when she went to complain was left to wait in the company’s office for two hours.  So to grab their attention she came back later armed with a hammer and asked “Have I got your attention now?” Unsurprisingly, she also had the attention of the police and a US$345 fine.

Having said that many news outlets in the area took note and she became something of a local hero. This was followed by an apology from her telephone company.

My favourite consumer story comes from a man called Dan Ortiz. Mr Ortiz had called his cable provider 20 times about a problem with his internet and screen-image before deciding to post on the Consumerist blog. On there he found a list of email addresses for over 75 of this company’s executives and employee’s email addresses. He copied the data and sent an email to all of them.

As it was the holiday period in America he got several “Out of office” replies, which had some of these employee’s direct telephone numbers. He called his local manager AT HOME, who immediately forwarded his details onto the lead technician. After this no less than eight trucks turned up ready and willing to fix his Internet and screen-image problems. The company also sent him a tin of gourmet popcorn for Christmas and US$700 in credits. He has seen the light and now that he has the direct mobile numbers for lead technicians in the area will never call customer services again!

The key here is to remember that your products/services are now under more scrutiny than ever before and people are more than happy to voice their displeasures in a number of interactive ways. It is up to you to ensure you are communicating the right messages to your consumers and servicing them in a satisfactory way- otherwise when you “Google” yourself or your company you might not like what you find!


McGregor, J; Business Week;3/3/2008; Issue 4073,p38-42


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