For those who don’t religiously read the Sunday New York Times column “The Haggler”..investigative reporter David Segal’s piece in this weekend’s decision is a barn burner. For any brand marketer, today’s profile detailing The Haggler’s attempt to resolve a customer’s complaint and running into a proverbial corporate communication brick wall created by Texas-based appliance chain store “Conn’s” is a classic example of how to inspire the wrath of masses using weapons of brand mass destruction aka Twitter by tweeting and calling out wrong-doers…The story is also likely to lead to a massive problem for this particular retailer, one who has faced the wrath of state regulators in the past.
Segal, who is generally quite successful in the course of getting to the bottom of things on behalf of consumers who encounter frustrating experiences with select companies, has apparently rolled snake eyes in his efforts to communicate with senior management of this not-so-small chain of electronic gadgets and home appliances. His solution? Inspire (some would use the phrase “incite”) readers to tweet the company via @connsinc in an effort to form a community-centric campaign designed to deliver a message to the company that their customer service is less than acceptable and to appeal to whatever sense of obligation this company might have towards satisfying the people who butter their bread.
Segal, sitting in his bully pulpit as the arbiter of proper corporate behavior and customer service goes two steps further by suggesting readers to email the CEO’s executive assistant via email@example.com or phone her office phone 936.230.5879 to express your support for Grace Salako-Smith, Ph.D, the Conn’s customer who has repeatedly attempted to communicate with this company in connection with a warranty that the company has apparently failed to honor. Worth noting, Conn’s has been the subject of literally thousands of consumer complaints and in 2009, agreed to pay $4.5million to settle charges of unfair business practices. Since that settlement, the company has received yet another 1000 complaints from consumers.