Water Coolers and the Power of the Internet Viral

A Water Cooler Goliath gets it right in the eye from an Internet David

david and goliath 262x300 Water Coolers and the Power of the Internet Viral

We all love a good moan and when we know we are absolutely in the right, the ability to add righteous indignation to our ranting makes many of us glow with glorious feeling! Ben Betts from www.ht2.org has gone even further!

He’s published a blog venting his fury/anger/frustration/disbelief at the level of service he has endured from a leading water cooler company with respect to their supply of  water and watercoolers, and the risible level of customer service he feels he has received from the organisation. But what he’s managed to do by airing his complaints in such an entertaining and light hearted way, is actually create an entertaining blog. So entertaining that its gathering a lot of attention over the internet – and that could be a PR disaster for the company.

The old adage ‘give good service and the customer will tell two people – give bad service and the customer will tell many more’ really stands up to the test here! And when that bad service is exposed in such an entertaining manner then we’ll all jump aboard!

Remember the story recently about the Virgin Passenger who was so aghast at his meal on a Virgin flight from India to London? So ‘aghast’ was he that he was moved to write a long letter (with images) to Richard Branson at Virgin to demand an explanation. So funny was the story that Richard Branson, being the great guy he is, took it all in good spirit and shared the excellent letter/joke with his nearest and dearest as they sat down to dinner!Somehow (!) the story got into the media .. and before we knew it it was being featured on BBC News programmes, widely in national papers, and across the many viral internet channels. Almost immediately it became the ‘must read’ viral of the season.Except it wasn’t genuine – it was the clever marketing ploy of some Virgin employee who really knew how the public mind works. Low and behold Virgin and Richard Branson got acres and acres of free publicity, the type of which could never have been purchased. Then – somewhat strangely – because of the humour and the genial response of its beloved leader, the publicity was almost universally positive! A story we all enjoyed … and more importantly shared.Reading Ben Bett’s tale of misery prompted hundreds of comments and replies to the blog site, and its fairly certain that if you are one of those people who enjoy reading internet virals it will come across your desk in the next week or so, if it hasn’t already.

The master stroke in Bens article shows just how companies need to understand the power of the internet and positive customer feedback! So convinced were this company of its efficacy that they posted the ‘I love them. Great service!’ response alledgedly  from a satisfied customer. Unfortunately for them, Ben spotted the fact that the glorious recommendation was posted from the companies very own domain – nice home goal lads!

Unlike the set up Virgin passenger complaint, Ben Betts and hundreds of others who happily flexed their typing fingers on this issue,  have genuine complaints and have suffered appalling levels of customer service at the hands of this company. These are just the tips of MANY icebergs and could really gather great momentum threatening the company with a tsunami of public critcism – which could  potentially be the last nail in their business coffin. So Ben and his fellow bloggers may finally have the last laugh – as their expression of disatisfaction enters the public arena and potentially deals a dangerous blow to the water cooler business.

It is interesting that these irate customers have been commenting in such numbers. Powerless to express through these frustrations through the continually engaged Customer Sevice Complaint channels, they have finally found their forum! Throwing wet rags at a worthy ‘Aunt Sally’ circus doll appeals to us all – a welcome feeling of empowerment and a tempting avenue to vent our frustrations! Had a bad journey on the tube this morning? Go to Ben’s blog and give the company you hate a  kick – it’ll make you feel better!

I’m not expressing my personal judgement of the company. I’m simply (although with great relish and delight) reflecting how a public outcry in a new arena .. the internet viral …. can act as an ignition switch threatening to spread faster than a California fire – and with equally devestating effect! We’ll be watching the progress of this story closely!

(If customers looking for a new water cooler company are reading this… take a look at our customer feedback web pages, so you can see how it SHOULD be done!)

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