Let’s face it we all have that one customer every few years who doesn’t pay up. Just takes the merchandise or the service and runs and you just want to take them to court. But court is sooo expensive and time consuming.
That’s why in the old days the saying “The customer is always right!” was created! Nobody wanted to go to court. Right? Well no that’s not the reason it was so popular 30 or more years ago and it’s also not the reason it’s still a popular “Best Practice” today! But I’ll get to that in a moment.
Well today it seems with technology and social media, we have much cheaper alternatives to court. We have the “people’s Social Media Shame Train!” Yep I just made that up.
But the point is we have technology to use to sell our products, raise awareness of our services and even protect us from fraud.
So why shouldn’t a business person take advantage of social media as a way to combat the people who don’t pay? To get back at the deadbeats, the crooks and the online shoplifters?
One word, reputation!
Take this social media post. A business woman in a rural community is using a popular facebook group to shame a customer who seems to have taken advantage of the business woman, took the merchandise and not paid the bill.
So why do I say “seems”. Well if your read on the business woman also posts that the customer said she would check with her bank.
“after I asked her to confirm her check was in the mail. She even responded back and said she would check with her bank and send another one if need be and now nothing. Can’t even message her. Oh well. She can live with her evil Christmas spirit knowing she got ornaments without paying lesson learned that’s on me.”
Even though it seems this business woman has calmed down and resolved to chock it up to a “lesson learned”, her statements in the beginning are very threatening. Many people reading that post may subconsciously feel threatened. From a business owners perspective this is normal reaction and progression of response to getting swindled out of your goods or services.
However from a consumer’s prospective, we’ve all had that one check get lost in the mail, to the electric company, the phone company or even the cable company. Which is an honest miss-hap. No one likes to be accused of being a thief or a lair and as a consumer we tend to see this type of threatening response as a red flag to stay away from a business.
So after all the possible actions a business can take, be it court action, calling the bank, harassing a customer to pay up or social media shaming… is it really worth it if other consumers are going to feel uncomfortable and steer clear of your business? Should you advertise your negative response by posting your frustrations for all to see?
No you shouldn’t.
In the old days people read the paper, not social media. Anytime someone took someone else to court, often it was posted in the news paper. (yesterday’s social gossip…I mean media)
Hence the statement “The customer is always right!” was the therapeutic chant that business owners repeated and the motto that they taught to their employees to keep from getting a bad reputation for poor customer service.
Now I’m not saying roll over and let everyone take your hard earned goods or services without paying. I’m not even saying don’t take legal action to recuperate your loss.
What I am saying is keep your frustrations and collections private between you and your customer and keep them pleasant and off line.