Social media has certainly given the power back to the consumer. But sometimes the consumer doesn’t do nice things with that power. While it could be a matter of perception (the overwhelming sentiment of most brands in online conversational analysis is positive), it certainly seems like the only time we take note of brand mentions online is when someone is whining or bitching about them.

AT&T is one brand that gets unnecessarily beaten about its head and face a lot online. I’ve never quite understood this, perhaps because I’m A) Practical in nature and understand technology messes up sometimes; and B) A fairly happy customer.

Last week, I had two opportunities to experience AT&T. A button on my AT&T U-Verse television remote is not working, so I hopped online to see if I could get a replacement. Within a minute or so of browsing around, I found the live support chat for U-Verse, offered up my problem, answered a series of questions and was told my remote was on its way … no charge.

Separately, I went to my local AT&T store to have my wireless modem replaced since the new operating system with my MacBookPro doesn’t agree with the old one. Michael, the sales associate who greeted me, recommended I upgrade to a MyFi unit which would not only give more than one device access and save me $10 per month on my bill, but it came with a $50 rebate. When I left the store, I got this email:

AT&T email to Jason Falls

Personalized, relevant and useful. It even includes the personal contact information for Michael, the actual guy who helped me. I haven’t seen that from many retail stores before. Nice touch.

I’m sure plenty of people have had bad experiences with AT&T, as well as with other brands. But why do we rush to the Twitters of the world when we’re pissed, but aren’t apt to do so when we have a good experience?

My mother used to tell me if you can’t say something nice about someone, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Of course, I seldom heed my mother’s advice, but in this case it might be appropriate.

Certainly, as consumers, we have a right to bitch. But we should also take the opportunity to not.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://justessay.com/ essay help

    SO nice!

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Good for you Jason! It’s true we tend to wave our Twitter account around in the face of brands, as if it has some brand unearthing power. Certainly, bad experiences have caught brands off guards. But personally, I’d love to hear more about where TO go, then where NOT to go.  Great post!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, dear. Just struck me that I had a good experience and should share that too.

  • http://philgerbyshak.com Phil Gerbyshak

    I totally agree Jason. Taking the time to say nice things is overlooked, because it often doesn’t “go viral” like a passionate rant does. I try to review the places I enjoy on Yelp whenever I can as this seems to be a good place for folks to let loose, and my positive review helps balance things out.

    Bully for AT&T for getting it right. And for you for sharing your positive experiences.

  • http://occamsrazr.com Ike Pigott

    I think the more interesting phenomenon is how we have allowed our technology to define us in the most tribal of ways.

    The difference between the percentage of dropped calls among the major US carriers is statistically negligible, yet we have Verizon people who don’t just hate AT&T, but sneer at those who disagree. We have iPhone and Android fans at each others’ throats over how much better their handheld-internet devices are.

    Customers are empowered to strike a blow against the monoliths they once had no hope to sway, even if only 8 people see it. What concerns me is how much these two trends (the Empowerment and the Tribalism) will mesh. In other words —- will we have people out publicly flogging companies, not just for the personal satisfaction brought by venting, but because they want to “fit in” with others who are griping?

  • http://www.communicationartistry.ca/ Marnie

    Thanks for sharing this! Although it can be helpful to offer constructive criticism when someone doesn’t meet our expectations, I think it’s just as important to give positive feedback when it’s due so people know what they should be doing more! Nothing quite as motivating as a kind word.
    As far as the ranters out there, I think some people don’t take the time to investigate solutions to their problems before flipping out on the first service rep they encounter.

  • http://blog.sunwaptasolutions.com/ Doug Wagner

    There is something to be said for the old advice “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” I think I heard it a few times when I was young.

    Complaining and ranting are also dangerous mindsets. Have you ever noticed that some people always seem to have bad luck? Maybe they are creating it from the “everything sucks” mindset.

    Still the reality is bad news goes viral more often than good.

    Great post. I think the trick is to point out the good far more often than the negative. Chances are you’ll have a better experience in life.

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    Great post, I enjoyed ready reading it.