Steadfast FinancesIf You Have a Blog, You've Got Leverage!

If You Have a Blog, You’ve Got Leverage!

Filed in Consumer Education , Strategic Planning 5 comments

Obtaining leverage isn’t an easy thing to do. Whether you’re using knowledge that someone may not want to be disclosed, using loaned funds to generate a higher ROI than your scheduled debt payments, or using social pressure to influence someone’s opinion, it can be a tricky, yet highly effective, method of achieving your goals.

I say this because Scott, from the Ready and Reach blog, used his blog to do just that. He was wronged, wrote a blog post that accurately documented his experiences with a defective product, and stated he would never do business with the company that wronged him again until they corrected their error.

Here’s what I like about Scott’s blog post directed at Sony, the maker of his defective HDTV:

  1. Your business is your vote. If you’re not a satisfied customer, or you have issues with doing business with unethical companies, just stop doing business with them. In fact, you can even suggest that others passively protest that corporation/organization, and simply take your business to their competitors. If you feel you’ve been wronged, don’t whine about it and continue doing the same old thing — stand up, walk away, and get satisfaction elsewhere.
  2. A picture is worth a thousand words. If you’ve got an issue with a defective product, document your claims on paper, or perhaps even better, snap a few photos or get a video recording so you can prove that your complaints are legitimate and need resolving.
  3. He didn’t slam them. Scott’s blog post aimed at Sony isn’t a belligerent tirade. It’s an intelligently written, well crafted account of the quality issues surrounding his purchase. He also shows that he has a long history of being a well satisfied customer, so not only is he disclosing that he’s loyal to the brand and went out of his way to purchase Sony products, but clues the world into that years of brand loyalty meant absolutely nothing to the customer service reps who gave him the runaround sitting halfway around the world.
  4. Navigating the customer service gauntlet. After multiple attempts at correcting the problem through customer service, he came away empty handed. Only then did he take his complaint to the blogosphere. Quickly thereafter, he was contacted by a Sony Vice President where they reached a mutually beneficial solution.

So what did this brief blog post get him? It got him a brand new HDTV. Not a refurbished HDTV. Not a store credit. Not a refund… but a brand new HDTV!

Naturally, I don’t encourage you to vent every little frustration you have with Corporate America on your blog, nor would I suggest the outcome will turn out this well every time you post a complaint on your blog (Scott is a litigation attorney after all). So save your words and pick your battles for when you’ve got a serious beef or if you feel you got shafted.

But if you wish to engage Corporate America and elevate your complaint to this level, make sure you take Scott’s approach by doing it professionally and keeping it 100% accurate. Otherwise, you’re diluting the leveraging power that social media services that Twitter, Facebook and personal blogs can provide.

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Posted by CJ   @   1 February 2010 5 comments
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Feb 1, 2010
6:28 pm
#1 Tracy :

I couldn’t agree with you more, Matt. I think we have an opportunity today to be heard as consumers, that is unprecedented in history. It’s amazing the effect the blogoshpere has had on politics alone and it’s just going to keep getting bigger. It’s important to use the power we have to make things better when we can and businesses don’t benefit by being left ignorant of consumer opinions.

Feb 2, 2010
11:29 am
#2 Matt SF :

Exactly! That’s the interesting thing that the voice of displeasure is no longer confined inside the airplane that’s been sitting idle for 2 1/2 hours or the dead end customer service calls that used to be confined between you and the CSR (whose job was to deny most refunds anyway).

If used properly, I think it will be a game changer and make more businesses accountable for their actions.

Feb 2, 2010
11:21 am
#3 Evan :

My Wife complained about something on twitter, and within 30 mins had a direct message with an apology and a coupon for a new item.

It is crazy how fast information disseminates today

Feb 2, 2010
11:31 am
#4 Matt SF :

That’s how it works Evan. I’ve heard stories that some businesses have faster complaint resolution via Twitter than traditional telephone customer service.

Feb 3, 2010
2:01 pm

Great post, Matt. Companies are taking bad press in the blogosphere and social media seriously, and one well written article like Scott’s could cost them thousands of dollars in lost business. I’ve read that companies make it a common practice to scour the internet looking for good and bad stories about them, and I’m glad to see Scott’s problem was successfully resolved. I never thought about doing this myself but it makes me feel better to know that if I’m backed into a corner I could always write about my bad experience.

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