Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
A friend of mine had a very bad experience with lost and then damaged luggage with an airline. Now problems with luggage making it from your departure city to your destination and then back home happen all the time. Even getting the bag back undamaged or if an item is missing is unfortunate, but not uncommon in the airline industry. But it is our right as consumers to acknowledge a company’s shortcomings, to hold them accountable and to help them make better experiences for the future.
So after she posted about her experiences on social media providing some constructive feedback, she received a threatening voice message about her posts. The perpetrator went to great lengths to identify her from her post, then slander and threaten her if she did not remove the posts. This is by far one of the most egregious abuses of power and disrespect I’ve seen.
HOW CAN YOU FIGHT BACK AND STAND UP FOR YOURSELF
Well after being verbally assaulted, she reached out for some friendly advice from our online travel group, the Nomadness Travel Tribe. Our group is an urban travel community of diverse millennials located all over the world who love to travel the world and and travel frequently. After we heard her story, we gave her some tips on how to reach out and get her story heard. She needed to fight back and get some retribution for the actions of the company’s employee’s bad behavior.
- Document any information you can collect. When issues arise, make sure to get the customer service rep’s name, phone number or any other documentation detailing the issue or concerns you have. If there was a supervisor you were transferred to, collect their info as well. It’s important to keep a record of all correspondence just in case the company requests documentation to help resolve your case or you need to turn over the documents for litigation.
- Reach out and tell your bad customer experience to the world via social media. We live in the digital age where news is at your fingertips immediately, and most reputable companies have customer service reps ready and on-demand to handle your concerns in a professional manner.
- Post tweets, Facebook and Linkedin post and any other social forum available about your bad experiences or situation. Know that this is your right to speak the truth and let your voice be heard. Companies and their employees have to be held accountable and its our duty to let others know what to watch out for as well.
- Another public source to consider is to reach out and report them to your local news stations who are always on the consumer’s side and willing to investigate on your behalf to unearth the truth.
- Reach out to executives of the company and tell them your stories. This point is the most important. No one working at a company wants to be reported for bad behavior to their direct bosses, and definitely not the CEO of their company. But this is the best way to get your voice heard and receive a more immediate response and attention.
- Go on LinkedIn or the actual company’s website to see if you can find the CEO or other company executives names and email addresses. If you can’t find their email addresses, research to determine what the company’s domain name and email address format is (ex. United is firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Once you have the correct email address format, you can pretty much figure out any executive email address. From there pull together all your evidence and email as many executives as possible to let the company management know about your ordeal. If you are able to get your story on their desk, and the company values their customers at all, the company will make sure to investigate and make things right.
- Use the recorded phone calls to vindicate your claim. If you have a bad experience on a phone call that’s good news. Not good new that you had a bad experience, but good news that the call should have been recorded to use in your favor.
- I had a bad experience with my cable provider. One sales rep provided me incorrect information on a sales deal, and when I received my bill I was not charged the price the rep had quoted me. I reached back out and asked for a new customer rep to investigate and I was told I had misinformation. I politely (well I may have raised my voice, but I didn’t cuss) asked the representative if he had access to review the previously recorded calls to verify my claim. After they reviewed the call, a few days later I received a call back that I indeed had been given bad info. The company confirmed that they would allow me to keep the deal I was offered for the year and apologized.
- Get any retribution or rewards you can get. If after all the stress and drama you’ve endured, you have decided to continue the relationship with that company, make sure are okay with the retribution they provide you. As you have been wronged, you should also be compensated with rewards points, credits or some form of value to try to help soften the blow you have received. This should be in addition to whatever reprimand they had depending on the severity of your claim.
A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.
Remember that you must not be silent, as bad human beings and malicious companies bank on your silence and unwillingness to fight for change. We must be willing to:
- Fight so others who have similar experiences know they are not alone
- Hold the companies accountable for their actions
- Remind them that consumers are the reason their companies exist
If more consumers stand up against bad customer service and make companies accountable, everyone wins, especially you!