Online disgrace creates so much buzz on blogs and in the media that companies are beginning to realize the devastating public relations effects brought on by these grass-roots exposés, said Gemma Puglisi, assistant professor of communications at American University.I'm seeing a lot of MSM articles like this lately, probably triggered by the excellent (and popular) video of a guy -- Vincent Ferrari -- trying to cancel his AOL account. These articles often portray consumers as "angry," but what's especially impressive about Ferrari's video is how polite and reasonable he is. He's very competently creating a video to demonstrate a problem he's heard people had been talking about.
"This has been a wake-up call for these companies," she said. "The day where you send a little letter to the CEO is over. In the age of technology, you have to be even more careful of how you treat your customers because you don't know where they're going to go. Now everything's out in the open."
The great moment of recognition for me comes when the AOL rep says "Alright, some day when you calmed down you're gonna realize that all I was trying to do was help you... and it was actually in your best interest to listen to me." Ferrari's been unusually calm precisely because he's making the video in order to show how hard it is to cancel, yet the rep tries to make him feel guilty about getting overexcited. That must work on a lot of people, because it's such a common move. I know some customers really are pretty ridiculous and irrational, and the phone reps are just using the tricks they've been taught, but it's so bad when they use that trick on someone who is being civil.