Sunday, December 12, 2010

Never Give a Sucker an Even Break

While paying lip service to "social" in the virtual world, far too many organizations remain decidedly anti-social in the real one.

Whenever I'm the victim of such an outfit, I recall the motto of W.C. Fields, "Never give a sucker an even break."

Truth be told, the anti-social organization holds this motto dearly.  No matter what it spouts on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

"The customers are just suckers.  Let's never, ever give 'em a break."

On Social Media Today, guest columnist Alexis Karlin takes anti-social organizations, deservedly, to task.

She's a tad more generous in attitude than I.

Forget what the social media gurus advise, Karlin writes.  "Organizations need to start by indoctrinating every employee with a customer support mentality before they even begin to think about social anything."

She offers her own example of anti-social corporate behavior.

Recently, Karlin cancelled a license for software she'd been using. 

Two months later, she received an email from the vendor.  It claimed Karlin was four payments in arrears.

Karlin shot back an email.  Why hadn't she been notified earlier?

The vendor's reply: "someone else" in her firm had been notified.  

But Karlin's was the only name ever given to the vendor.  She then asked to see copies of the late-payment notices.

There has been no response.

Karlin feels anger over the incident.  "Even though we spend all this time talking about engaging, energizing, supporting, and embracing," she writes, "I strongly feel that companies are forgetting to do this in the day-to-day dealings through email, over the phone and face to face. 

"My guess is that this vendor has a great social strategy and plan in place, but didn’t bother to instill the prerequisite customer service mentality."

My guess is slightly different.

Yes, this vendor has a great social strategy and plan in place.  But it doesn't have a lot of scruples.

Engage.  Energize.  Embrace.  And never give a sucker an even break.

What do you think?
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