Social media is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for companies to communicate messages to their customers, as well as for individuals to get the attention of the big brands. The speed at which content can be spread on social networks also allows other people to easily lend their support to the little man, with many problems gaining widespread media attention due to the virality of the story on social networks. Just this week, the tale of a deceased man being charged a late payment fee by Virgin Media (despite the fact the account holder’s bank informing them that he had passed) was shared over 53,000 times after the man’s son-in-law posted a picture of the bill – which included the line “D.D Denied-Payer Deceased” as the reason for the fine – to Facebook.
However, people don’t always come out in support of the complainant, and it seems the saying “the customer is always right” is starting to ring less and less true. For this example we turn to a conversation that unfolded on Twitter a few days ago between Cineworld – a UK cinema chain – and a customer who thought that their prices were too high. Despite repeatedly telling the man that their prices were some of the most competitive around and pointing him in the direction of a number of special offers, he refused to give up, and – as many other people chipping in pointed out – failed to grasp the fact that we live in a free market economy, and film studios need to some home make back the millions they invest in producing high quality movies.
What was refreshing to see was that instead of trying to pander to the man’s every whim and not offend him, the Cineworld employee stuck to their guns and didn’t stand for the customer’s illogical arguments and abject refusal to acknowledge his earlier erroneous accusations. Common consensus is that it was one helluva gutsy move from the Cineworld employee to respond to the awkward customer in the way they did, but on balance ‘the internet’ seems to think that Cineworld came out on top.
If you’ve got a few minutes to check this out for yourselves, the stream of tweets between Cineworld and the angry customer is well worth the read. Who do you think came off best here?
This raises and interesting Should the people responsible monitoring company social media channels have to put up with angry customers in a different way to how they would deal with an irritating person in their personal life? We’d be interested to hear your thoughts.