Instant, Public, Permanent
Remember the scene in the movie Titanic? The one where Jack is clinging to some flotsam and he says to Rose, "I don't know about you, but I intend to write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all of this."
That's what we used to do back in the good old days when we were unhappy with a product or service. Back in the good old days like 2008 or 2009. Let's take a look at how a customer and a company interacted in 2008.
- You check into the hotel and are not happy.
- You go to the front desk and complain.
- Still upset? You call the national phone number.
- You write a letter or send an email to the corporate office.
- Hears your complaint.
- Verifies your complaint. Contemplates. Coordinates a response.
- Takes action or doesn't.
Time for two-way communication: 30 days or more. Customer tells 10 friends or associates about the bad experience.
Today, things happen a lot faster. Like instant, public and permanent.
In his new book, The Now Revolution, author Jay Baer tells us the story of Shawn who had a less than ideal experience with the Budget Host Motel in Flagstaff, Arizona. His review on TripAdvisor.com is entitled, "I think I can feel death creeping upon me as I write this..."
He continues, "It's SOOOOOO gross. Like something in a horror movie. I'm about to walk out to my car to get my own blankets because this bed is so gross I don't even want to imagine how many people are brought here to be murdered. DO NOT STAY HERE. My wife and I are gonna go get tested for HIV because of this bed. Also the Wi-Fi blows."
Whatever happened to going to the front desk? What happened to writing a letter to the president of the Budget Host chain? How have the rules changed?
Today, the feedback is instant. Anyone can review any experience and press one key and the word is out right now. It is public spectacle as well. The hotel guest just didn't tell 10 or 20 or 30 friends. He told the millions of people who visit the 133rd most visited website in the United States. Today, our complaints are also permanent. The review above is nearly a year and half old, yet it is still there for anyone to see. Will you stay there if your travel plans take you to Flagstaff?
Today, the rules of business and the rules of marketing are being rewritten. Social media and the ways in which we communicate have made everything Instant, Public and Permanent.
(This series will continue over the next several postings. Stay tuned.)