Saturday, July 18, 2009


Michael McCoy and Sue Martines J.D.

It’s always been said that a jury of one’s peers will generate the most authentic outcome, although some would say, the most severe. Honesty can hurt. Just ask the manager of a 70-year-old supermarket chain who got fired, or at the least transferred, over refusing to exchange a $4 watermelon.

One disgruntled customer taking the real story to the social network of Twitter, Facebook, and other online resources, and the wheels of justice begin to really get rolling. Ask a friend, a neighbor, or colleague, how it would feel to have their spouse humiliated over a $4 purchase from a merchant who prides themselves on “customer convenience,” and they’ll tell you they’ll stop shopping there. But previously the buck would stop there.

Enter social networking. Now, with a brief description of your experience, and a request for action to your “network,” and the emails and calls to the store start flooding in. What retailer in their right mind is going to ignore an outpouring of negative responses from the very customer base it claims to hold dear?! And in a market where your existing customers are ever-more valuable.

This retailer didn’t ignore it. The customer’s been advised that neither he, nor the rest of the “network” will ever have to deal with that manager again. Click, type, action – results. The following quote is the response from the store director after a week long social networking campaign:

“I am not able to discuss details, just that you will not have to deal with the manager that caused you and your wife the problem. As I said before, we take customer service issues very seriously, and I hope to see you and your family back at XXXXX soon.”
Store Director

It’s not a stretch to wonder, when it comes to social networking, what’s next – influence global politics? Reunite estranged families? Shift the buying habits of a nation? On some of these perhaps, the jury is still out, but for this particular store manager, the verdict was clear. Guilty by a jury of his peers.

Michael McCoy can be followed at,

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