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The Brand that was MIA – A Consumer’s Story

October 12, 2010 | By | No Comments

The Brand that was MIA – A Consumer’s Story

CLUNK. BANG. silence.

The death throes of a washing machine.

This is the true story of an ordinary Consumer. She lived with a husband who was very active in sports and had the dirty clothes to prove it. She also mothered two young boys who were genetically predisposed to jumping in every mud puddle and climbing every dirt pile.

She needed a new washer—and she needed a good one.

STEP ONE: Visit the site of major product review organization

Nestled among the group’s tests for vibration and noise levels, she found it—a washing machine that she’d only dreamed about. It had all the features a mom with baskets full of dirty clothes could want. The group gave it very good reviews. And, most exciting of all, it could wash a queen-sized comforter.

STEP TWO: Take a field trip

The next day came and the Consumer all but skipped into a local home store that carried the model of her desire. It was beautiful. It was feature packed. It could wash a queen-size comforter.

STEP THREE: Look at actual buyer reviews

With her mind all but made up, the Consumer thought she should go home and check out customer reviews online before placing the order.


It turns out online reviewers weren’t as dazzled by this washer. And it wasn’t just one or two bad reviews. It was a litany that included consistent complaints about the washer shredding clothes or the company’s poor customer service.

STEP FOUR: Search for brand response

The Consumer, who spent many years working in the mail-order industry, knew that sometimes problems with products stems from misuse or a customer not following manufacturers’ directions. So she went to the company’s website to look for an explanation. What did she find? Pretty graphics. Plenty of well-organized feature lists. But not a single communication that addressed the plethora of online complaints.

Then she went to Facebook. The Consumer couldn’t even find a brand page.

STEP FIVE: Forget Brand A, Continue Shopping

Not wanting to waste another minute researching a brand she’d already put quite a bit of time into, she started back at Step One. She found another brand that received much better online reviews. It offered almost as many features and, even though it didn’t have room for a queen-size comforter, she was thrilled that she didn’t blow money on a potential lemon.

Yet sometimes, on those rare Sunday mornings when the Consumer has time to read the newspaper, she sees an ad for the first brand and wonders how many sales the company has lost because they were unaware or unwilling to address the voice of the customer.

To learn more about using social media to monitor sentiment and respond to criticisms and misperceptions, contact Social Strategy1.

**This entry was inspired by Michael Thomas’ blog post “A personal case of Social CRM; it is about time!

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