Tuesday, July 01, 2014

How to Make Friends and Influence People. Not.

So, an interesting thing happened to me about a month ago (and yes, I've waited this long to post about it for a reason). I got a call from a lawyer I had never heard of. And she had a Letter of Demand for me.

Say what? Whatever for? Cue utter confusion. Till she mentions her clients name. Which obviously I can't mention here on my blog anymore ... or apparently there'll be an application made to the High Court to basically sue me and force me to remove any mention of them.

So what's the background here? Years ago, and I do mean years, I wrote a blog post (2008). I complained about the service I received from The Client (henceforth known as). And I used (shock horror) their actual name. And basically said I didn't think anyone should use their services.

I never thought about it again. My experience concluded my dealings with them (obviously) and I've steered clear ever since. Well, until January last year.

In January 2013 (yeah, 4.5 years after my post), they emailed me and asked me to remove it. They gave reasons for their bad service at the time (there was no denying it, just excuses) and said that "the harm your blog is doing our business and those we employ carries on day after day". I dunno how they reached that conclusion ... my guess is that someone high up in their ranks stumbled across it in a search result and decided that it must be doing them harm. Of course they have no idea that the post in question doesn't even register as a blip in my Blog stats. So no one is clicking thru and and reading it as far as I'm concerned.

Plus, I guess my idea of online reviews is a little different from theirs. People still make up their own minds and one little paragraph of bad service someone received back in 2008, well if that is going to harm your business then I don't know.

You guessed it, The Client isn't in the restaurant or hospitality industry, because the people in that industry, they know that there are good reviews and bad reviews and you can't please everyone all the time. If you get bad reviews, you try to make it work for you with an appropriate response to show your willingness to be better and improve customer relations (there are only like 54 million Google results for this, if you're interested enough to look). And you try to get the good reveiws to outweigh the bad ones.

Not this bunch. They seem to think that bullying is a much better strategy (and who's to say, really ... since it worked :/). And, after almost 6 years, if I'd begun to forget them and was ever at the point of giving them another chance, well they blew it.

When they first sent the mail 
in January 2013, explaining why I'd received the bad service from them (in 2008), I politely declined to remove their name or my blog post. But, I did post their response and reasoning in a comment on the original post. Which, personally, I feel THEY should have done as an appropriate reaction. Honestly, I don't think they actually ever read my blog post. They just saw the blurb on the search engine, which was pretty scathing, I admit.

And, In my comment, I also pointed out how if someone had only given me these reasons (which they managed to remember almost 5 years later) at the time I was dealing with them, I would've been much more understanding. Managing people's expectations is pretty much what good service is all about.

So yeah, now you're all caught up. My blog comment last year didn't change the blurb on the search results. So they were apparently still pissed. Clearly it matters far more to them than me (although I do not believe I did anything wrong, but who can afford lawyers over something so trivial) so I have removed their name. And thanks to Google I have even removed the blog post from the search results. And for now the matter is resolved. They can go back to pretending their Customer Services department is actually doing their job.

Personally, I reckon they should've rather spent the money on better PR than on a lawyer forcing someone into removing a blog post no one has read in years ...

*cough* Damn, read this last week: Bad review couple win compensation. If only I had nothing better to do with my time or money ...

Update 17-Jul-2014: And now, there is this: French blogger fined over review's Google search placing. Guess you can't win them all? Glad I made a decision I was happy to live with.

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin