Amazingly, this story I’m about to tell happens about once a week, and it’s usually coming from a large brand.
A week or so ago I got an email from the director of corp comm for a decent-sized company. She had read a post I wrote on responding to negative feedback from customers, and that’s what she needed help with. She told me that her company had been dealing with a customer stemming from an issue in 2008. Since that time, they claimed the customer had repeatedly complained about their service, the company claimed it had tried to work with the customer, but the customer continued to post negative comments on its Facebook page, etc. I was even given a word doc with exchanges between the customer and the chain.
The director of corporate communications then ended her email by asking ‘What should we do now?’
I informed the director of corporate communications that I was a Social Media Strategist that gets paid by corporations such as her’s to help them with issues just like this. I told her my blog was here to provide her with FREE help via the content I provide, and that if she wanted more extensive help, that she would have to PAY for it, and gave her my rate.
She responded by saying she might be interested in working with me in the future, and asked me if I could give her some examples of my work. I responded with this:
“I’m confused, XXXX. An hour ago you were willing to have me advise you on how to handle a customer-service matter that’s been an issue for your company for 4 years, for free, but now that I want to charge you for that help, you want to see examples of my work? I would assume you had already determined that I was qualified to help you with this matter, else why would you have contacted me to begin with?”
Shockingly, our email exchange ended at this point. Every consultant that’s worked with companies for any amount of time can probably tell stories just like this one. If it’s a small business or mom-and-pop outfit asking for free advice, I don’t mind quite as much. But when it’s a major brand that can afford to pay, it’s inexcusable.
Oh and BTW to the brand that contacted me about a customer service issue it’s been dealing with for the last four years, maybe you would have figured out how to fix this problem by now if you weren’t looking for a FREE solution.