Monday, March 5, 2012

A little experiment

With all this talk about networked media in the past few weeks in this class and my marketing class, I decided to do a bit of a personal experiment. After grocery shopping at Hy-vee, I noticed while bringing in my groceries that my milk had leaked all over my trunk. Upon go inside and checking my receipt, I also noticed that the cashier had also charged me for the wrong kind of grapes (not the sale one that I bought), meaning my grapes cost me a whopping $7.

After discovering this, I tweeted a relatively harmless post showing my disappointment:

"Just went to @hyvee. They charged me for green grapes instead of red and the top of my milk fell off in my trunk. #fail :("

Within six minutes, I had this response for Hyvee's twitter account:

"Could you please tell me which location this happened? Thank you!"

I tweeted back the location and a couple days later received this tweet:

"I have spoken with the store director. Please email us for details. Thank you!"

After emailing them, I received an email from the store director apologizing for my negative experience and offering a refund of my grapes and reimbursement to have my trunk cleaned!

What would our world look like if every company were connected to its consumers in this way? Would we be more satisfied shoppers, or would we simply continue to expect more and more from those we do business with? As our world becomes more and more networked and instantaneous, will small businesses that do not have the capacity to keep up with this ever-changing technology be left behind?


  1. It’s interesting to read your little experiment. It was a good try! Just as we learned from the social media marketing class, social media played an important role in the business development and it closely connecting customers and the business. I think it’s a brilliant way to keep track of customers via social media sites. According to the textbook of the marketing class, listening, collaboration, and measurement are the three basis for the highest levels of engagement. In this digital world, companies could easily “listen” to their customers’ experiences online, and respond customers’ complaints as quickly as they can. This will definitely help the company to build great customer services and also make customers feel the company cared about them. Even people got negative experiences with the company at first, but after the quick responses, most customers will turn to positive mood about the company. They may also tell their friends, family and colleagues verbally or tweet another one to share this amazing experience. I think this is a great way to connect customers and a company. Shoppers would be more satisfied with the customer services and they are more likely to share the positive experience with others. I also think small business have the same capacity to keep track of customers via social media sites. Even they can’t hire a great number of people to do social media analytics and measurement, but they still could utilize social media sites to connect their customers. Just make customers know the company is there, and they are concerned about customers.

    1. Frances,

      Very interesting experiment. I’ve always noted that HyVee had great customer service at the store, but I’m glad to see that they are carrying that through to their online presence. You pose some tough questions. Right now, since every company does not utilize social media for customer service problems, I think we appreciate stores who are interacting in that space. However, if this becomes the norm, I do think some shoppers will expect that to be the norm.

  2. I believe that people gravitate towards instant gratification and with networked media you get closer to consistently achieving that. I think from a fiscal standpoint, interacting with consumers through networked media makes complete sense... less phone costs, customer service representatives, etc. And from a consumer standpoint, he can expect a response at anytime (and often do) which ultimately may lead to a more satisfied/loyal consumer.

    I think TOMS Shoes does a great job of this- I found the best way to interact with that organization regarding customer service issues/concerns/questions is through Twitter. It is fast, simple and instantaneous... which is what I believe most consumers desire.

    As for small businesses, one would expect that the number of customer service issues is consistent with the size of the business... so (hopefully) the smaller the business, the smaller the need for someone to handle all the networked media. If the business owner or existing staff does not have the skills to execute customer service in this manner, I am certain there are always eager advertising interns that would love real-world experience! :)