Social Media Giveth. And Just As Easily, Taketh Away…

Yesterday, my father-in-law forwarded me an email.  Jim forwards me a steady stream of all sorts of things: jokes and video clips, PowerPoints that showcase natural wonders and Christian or patriotic sentiment, and political screeds I dump without reading.  Overall, I enjoy getting these enough not to filter them out, because once I scroll past the half dozen or so forwards of mass e-mail lists, he sometimes turns up a real gem.  I checked this particular post on Snopes.com, and evidently, it’s legit.  Which in today’s fast-acting world, means bad news for Best Buy.picture-3

Under the title “Best Buy, My Foot,” an anonymous poster relates a lousy customer experience he had returning a GPS unit to the store.  The crux of his beef is that Best Buy has a policy of charging a 15% restocking fee, along with some other non-consumer friendly ancillary policies.  You can read a copy of the e-mail here.  

I don’t know if this particular effort caused any real damage to the company, but as someone who frequents that store, this e-mail made me pause.  Their policy does seem niggling, particularly the anything-but-transparent way they communicate these fees.  So in that sense, the anonymous poster did exact his revenge on the company: I will hesitate before making big purchases there in the future.  And up ’til now, I always liked Best Buy. 

This is what can happen when companies dis consumers who otherwise considered themselves gruntled.  This kind of thing happens in the modern age of widespread and convenient social media.  Anyone can take their beef to the web, and try to spread it under the universally admonishing subject line: “Important!  Forward This To Everyone You Know!”  People like my father-in-law will take them rather literally at that. 

And judging by the trail of forwards, so will a lot of others.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79