Cyber-Shaming 2, Customer Service 0

It seems customer service and the name "Maxwell" just don't mix.

Back in July, I told you about Canadian country act Sons of Maxwell, and its lead singer's attempt to get United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA  ) to acknowledge that its careless baggage handlers broke his guitar. Stonewalled at every turn, Dave Carroll wrote a song about the incident, and his accompanying YouTube video, "United Breaks Guitars," now has more than 6.6 million views. Unable to ignore Carroll any longer amid all the digital publicity, United finally agreed to compensate him.

Almost half a year later, it's Sears Holdings' (Nasdaq: SHLD  ) turn to buckle to online pressure. According to a story on WalletPop, a dog named Maxwell decided to greet a Sears truck arriving to deliver a freezer -- and the greeting didn't go so well for Maxwell. After Sears' customer-service folks responded to Maxwell's owner with indifference over the tragic incident, the man set up a website, called "Sears Killed My Dog." It didn't take long after that for Sears corporate HQ to call the man with an apology and an offer to reimburse him for the cost of little Maxwell and the freezer.

Say what you want about the owner's responsibility to keep his dog contained when there was a big truck pulling into the driveway. The lesson here is how companies respond -- and often don't respond -- to customer complaints. With the rise of social media -- from Twitter to Facebook to News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS  ) MySpace -- and the immediacy of the Web, companies should know that it's not so easy to blow off customers with casual indifference anymore. When will they learn?

Fool Rich Duprey recently sounded off about his own experience with customer service at Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT  ) . But let's hear about your customer-service horror stories, Fools. Has taking your battle online ever helped your cause? Give us your thoughts in the comments box below.

Fool online editor Adrian Rush's tenacity has probably given more than one customer-service rep a big headache. He has no position in any of the stocks mentioned here. Sears Holdings and Wal-Mart Stores are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. The Fool's disclosure policy is currently listening to the Beatles' "Maxwell's Silver Hammer."


Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 12:19 PM, SteveTheInvestor wrote:

    That's part of the problem with corporations. They are "things", they aren't people. The problem is that they forget that most of the time they are dealing with real people, not other "things" like themselves. When you treat a customer like just another part of the machinery, you deserve what you get.

    It's a pity that one must go to such incredible lengths to get satisfaction from today's corporations.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 12:20 PM, SteveTheInvestor wrote:

    That's part of the problem with corporations. They are "things", they aren't people. The problem is that they forget that most of the time they are dealing with real people, not other "things" like themselves. When you treat a customer like just another part of the machinery, you deserve what you get.

    It's a pity that one must go to such incredible lengths to get satisfaction from today's corporations.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 1:05 PM, pondee619 wrote:

    "Say what you want about the owner's responsibility to keep his dog contained when there was a big truck pulling into the driveway."

    But isn't that the point of compensation? To pay someone for his/her loss that was someone else's fault? If you let/allow/suffer your dog running free under a moving truck, how/why is that the fault of the company that sold you a freezer?

    So now, the internet, and all of it's social networking methods provides a new way to extort money from companies. B!tch loud and long to enough people and you'll get money whether you are entitled or not.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2009, at 2:26 PM, ramblinche81 wrote:

    I bought a new home and 4 of 5 major name brand high end appliances (double oven, dishwasher, microwave, freezer/icemaker) failed less than 6 months after warranty expiration. Microwave was repaired three times under warranty and finally when time ran out, they refused any reasonable accomodation. One item is a double oven which the part costs $200 and labor is $600 and has been a common failure per service techs. I explained to their marketing and service people their inflexible approach to my request for help would cause my family and my children's families to never buy their goods. I will have spent over $1500 repairing/replacing failed appliances which cost $5000 to start with.

    Now that I know a web assault has impact, I might just go that route and see how bad publicity via www.maytagisawful influences their brand support since my individual efforts had no impact.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1068076, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/30/2014 6:37:30 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement