Customer Experience: Be afraid of the Green M&Ms

In the land of brown M&Ms, it is easy to hide another brown one.  The green one sticks out.

I have always been the green M&M.

The green one is someone who, when they have a bad experience, takes it upon themselves to speak out.  Or, in my case, tell the world about my bad experience.

Friday, I took my iPhone 6 to be fixed and repaired and in case they could not fix it, I asked them to then fix the 5.  I won’t tell you the name of the company—any inference you may draw as to its name from the italicized text is purely coincidental.

“If you fix the 6, don’t fix the 5.”

“Come back in an hour and a half,” I was told.  And I did. Come back.  Total cost, $100 for the repair and $30 for a hard case, strong enough to survive an IED. “We guarantee our work for 90 days.”

Five minutes later I was back in the store. “Do you guarantee it for 5 minutes?” I asked.

Twice more they fixed and repaired my phone.  Twice more it was neither fixed or repaired.  “You probably have a bad motherboard.  You should take it to Verizon and see what they can do.”

And so, I went.  I gave Verizon my 6 and they gave me an iPhone 7. I called the fixer people from Verizon and told them not to fix the 5.

I returned to the fix and repair place.  I asked them to refund my payment.

“We can’t do that,” a young man in skinny jeans told me—let’s call him Sparky.  Sparky explained, “For us to give you a refund, you have to give us back the screen we installed in your 6.”

Sparky was well on his way to bringing out the green in me.  “Maybe you should have mentioned that before I gave the phone to Verizon.”  I was about to melt all over the store.  “Besides, while you were at Verizon we fixed your 5. You owe us another $90 for that repair.”

I left without a refund, with a case I no longer needed, and without my 5.

I decided I was going to give the store’s owner a PhD in the impact an angry customer and social media savant can have on a business.  I began with their Facebook page. I did not click their Like Us icon.

I posted a message on their site.  The owner replied that she would not honor my request because I did not meet her request that I return the screen she installed on my 6. I told her she never told me to return the screen prior to telling me to go to Verizon.  We had reached an impasse.  I took Dylan Thomas’s advice—I did not go gentle into that good night.

I gave her my email address so she did not have to play out this dispute in public.  She replied that she was happy to continue to correspond on her store’s Facebook page.

That was her first mistake.  That said, I was ready to continue to play this out in public.  What she failed to recognize is that I define in public to mean all of the public.  This no longer had anything to do with my $130 and my hostage iPhone 5.  This had become a battle of wits, and she was unarmed. This toothpaste wasn’t going back in the tube.

I learned it is very easy to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.  J I quickly learned that the corporation of which she is a franchisee had its own Facebook page. J  And a Twitter account.  J  it took two minutes to find the email address of the corporate CEO.  Right about now the CEO is reading my first email to him. J

Oh, I happen to have accounts on most of the most popular social networking sites. J  And I learned how to upload a video to YouTube.  JJ

In the land of brown M&Ms the green one sticks out.  Did I mention that I am a green one?

In healthcare, like in every other business, there are plenty of green M&Ms just waiting for a reason to distinguish themselves from the brown M&Ms.  Green M&Ms cause you to lose revenues.  The also do not do much for the health of the patient.  People go to your website, get frustrated, and never return.  The same thing happens when they call your health system.  While your system is calling it leakage, your patients are calling and networking with everyone who is online.

The negative impact of a dissatisfied customer is far greater than that person’s bad experience.  You have lost the chance to care for them and all their future revenues.  And some percentage of the future revenues of some of the people that customer tells.

Novices will tell you that when someone has a bad experience they will tell ten people about their experience.  That may have been true when people thought of a digital experience as an AOL account and a Palm Pilot.

My advice?  Be afraid of the Green M&Ms.

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