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The Power of Social Media

(This post is not about any company, it’s about the power of social media.)

The other day we had a slight run in with a company, who shall remain nameless. It had bought out another company with which we were under contract when we lived in Texas. When we signed the contract, we knew a move could be imminent, so we asked if there was a cost involve when moving before the end of the contract. Their answer was no. We thought nothing of it. Fast-forward to the present. We moved…an expensive move with no one else covering expenses. My wife gets on the phone with the new company to make sure there are still no added costs.

There are.

My wife explains that before we signed we specifically asked that question and were promised no expenses. It’s not much help. They tell her we’d have to commit to other contract and pay either $99 or $199 to not extend, or just pay the remainder of monthly payments…right! It should be free, or we should be grandfathered in. It’s not much to you, but it IS to us right now. She went on and on with them, until in frustration the rep said he’d get it to zero and then they hung up.

Next day the tech comes, sets up (he was really great, I mean it), then it comes to contract time. He looks at his notes, sees that they had spoken on the phone with a rep, who shall remain nameless as well. He does not have zero, and he has a new contract. My wife specifically told them we did not want to renew with another contract.

Back on the phone she goes…and on hold…and reconnected, etc. They decide to listen to the recording of the call to see if she was promised zero and no contract by the new rep. They come back calling her a liar. Can we listen to the recording, ‘cuz she knows what was said and is not lying! Not without an attorney. We don’t want an attorney. We’d like decent treatment.

No dice. We pay $99 extra dollars. Case closed. Or is it?

After spending probably an hour or more on the phone with this company, we got no where. I decide to turn to the POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA.

I have a three prong attack planned, if needed to easily fight for my $99. All I needed was one tweet, less than 140 characters.

Within 10 min. the social media team of this company is being courteous AND helpful. Within a few exchanges, few in characters, large in significance, our issue is promptly resolved.

The company saved themselves a lot of bad press because the social media team realizes the dynamic power of word of mouth to the masses. My wife told the guy on the phone that we would pay and tell everyone we know not to do business with this company. It didn’t phase them. She failed to mention that we’re pretty tech savvy and can tell many people we DON’T know the same.

I’m not into boycotts or anything. But I found out that I don’t like anyone calling my wife a liar. I also  confirmed something I already knew to be true, and found out just how powerful social media can be to give both good or bad press to the world of cyberspace.

Good and Bad

We’re always surrounded with good and bad. Many times we ourselves wallow in between both realities.

This morning I did something that was good. My mission was to refill both of our 5 gallon water jugs, which were depleted. On top of that I had to go to the bank and then buy some coffee and Mexican sweet bread for my wife, and I had the presence of mind to get her an anniversary card as well. Last but certainly not least, was the ever-present cliché of milk and bread. As I was checking out, I added 25 cents to get a reusable bag, since we have a plastic bag ban in the city, and as I loaded up I headed for the near exit. I almost did a bad thing, forgetting to pay for my $14 in merchandise. The clerk said, “Sir.” and I came to my senses. I think I was so focused on the water-filling task at hand.

Anyway, a large gruff man became noticeably frustrated at my leaving the cart in the clear path to the exit, and as he viciously moved my cart out of the way I caught a glimpse of what was in his precious cart– 3 large glass containers of hard liquor.  I proceeded to pay for my essentials and watched him leave. As he got outside, he snagged a large bag of Flavoraid Pop Ice from an outdoor display without paying for it! And he was gone. As I went outside to purchase 10 gallons of filtered water, I could see this burly man in the parking lot. Of course he parked his motorcycle in a no park zone. I had a good concept of bikers lately as 500 to 1000 of them held off the Westboro clan from protesting my hometown of Joplin’s Memorial Service on Sunday. But this guy left a bad taste in my mouth. He carefully wrapped up his booze in the store’s weekly ad and drove off to begin his day of drinking.

As I arrived at the ol’ homestead I could hear my wife in the other room saying to my one and a half year old daughter, “Bad girl, bad girl, bad girl.” That’s all I could hear from my vantage point, but it turns out they were having a full-fledged conversation. As she said, “bad girl” the baby would reply “good girl”, and this was repeated multiple times. I don’t know what this little good/bad girl had done, but I know her, how she’s always getting into everything. She is as apt as anyone to do much good or bad.

What’s your take-away, if you’ve made it thus far? Do something good today. Something much better than I described. Why don’t you start by giving to the Joplin Tornado relief cause? 1/3 of the town I love was completely devastated. My home church is one of the main distribution centers and work crew hubs in the community. You can give $10-whatever amount you’d like to their storm fund and it will all go to the victims of this tornado who lost everything: http://www.chcchurch.org/the-storm. My wife and I will leave after church on Sunday to drive 16 hours north with a mini-van full of stuff we’ve been collecting that they need.

So whether it’s this or that, do some good today.

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