There was a time in the not too distant past of this country when too many big companies thought that they were so powerful that they didn’t have to listen to the needs and complaints of their customers, and they didn’t. We all remember Ma Bell’s unofficial slogan of “We don’t care, because we don’t have to.” But those times are gone, and some of those big impersonal organizations and the narrow minded bean counters who run them need to get that message. The rules have changed.
Most regular readers know about the recent burglary and vandalism we suffered, and the runaround we have been getting from our insurance company. Their attitude was pretty much “take a number and stand in line, we’ll get around to you when we feel like it.” In the past, what could a little guy do? Just bend over, grab your ankles, and brace yourself for the screwing that was about to take place. But not anymore.
Just as Colonel Samuel Colt’s Peacemaker revolver was called the “great equalizer” in the late 1800s because anyone, young or old, strong or weak, could use them to defend themselves against outlaws and marauding Indians, today’s great equalizer is the internet.
No longer does a mistreated customer have to suffer in silence at the hands of large companies who care about nothing but their bottom line. With just a few postings on an internet forum, they can tell the whole world what’s happening to them, and let the court of public opinion decide the matter for them. And while those big outfits don’t give a tinker’s damn for what you and I may think individually, when their nasty little tricks are exposed to the entire world, and the complaints and e-mails start rolling in, sometimes they do sit up and take notice.
For days after we filed our claim, the insurance adjuster ignored us, and our own agent refused to even speak to us when I called to ask them to intervene on our behalf. But once the story got passed around the internet to a few RVing forums, and other customers of the same companies realized that there, but for the grace of God go them, they started contacting the company and their own agents telling them they were going to take their business elsewhere.
We all know what they say about sh&$ rolling downhill, and once it did, the turnaround in attitude on the part of the claims adjuster can only be defined as the difference between night and day. Suddenly there is nothing he can’t do to accommodate us. As for our agency, they apparently finally received enough pressure from folks who had read about our problems to realize that this isn’t going to go away, and now they too are suddenly calling me to offer their help. Of course, the fact that their first contact was fourteen days after the crime was committed means it is much too little, much too late.
Am I happy that we are finally getting some action? Sure, but I’m even more pleased to see the power of the internet demonstrated. We may still be a bunch of Davids going up against the Goliaths of the world, but the stones we can put in our slingshots have gotten a hell of a lot bigger!
Tags: bean counters, big companies, big impersonal organizations, burglary, Colonel Samuel Colt’s Peacemaker, customer complaints, e-mails, Goliaths of the world, great equalizer, insurance adjuster, insurance company, internet, Ma Bell, marauding Indians, mistreated customer, narrow minded, nasty little tricks, outlaws, poor customer service, revolver, RVing forums, vandalism