Bettering Your Business Through Social Media

I blog, twitter, and facebook. Each has its uses, and a recent experience made me aware of how they impact a business.

If you read my garden blog, you might know that I have about four acres of property, close to three which need regular mowing. This is the height of the mowing season, and we had already replaced the hand mower earlier, but then the deck mower finally rusted out after 23 years (it was a John Deere brand). They sometimes say “bad luck comes in threes”, but two mowers breaking down at the height of the mowing season this year was enough for me.

We decided that we needed a machine that could mow this size property and navigate around the trees and gardens in a better manner than a tractor with a rear deck mower. A “zero turn” mower seemed like the solution, and after due diligence in researching brands, the ‘Toro’ was decided upon. Next came shopping the outlets for such mowers.

Home Depot matched the price and we purchased from their store.

The rest of the story….

That should have segued into a happy ending… but then I wouldn’t have a post centering around bettering your business and the part social media plays in that. The trouble started when the said “new” mower was delivered. My husbands habit is to be here when there is an important delivery… and so he was. The new mower arrived uncrated, and on inspections, was covered over in scratches and had rust issues. My husband refused it on the spot.

This mower had been used. By someone somewhere -and now was being passed off as a new product. That, right there, is what made me so angry.

I take a lot of sometimes poor service from a business. I chalk it up to someone having a bad day, or the luck of the draw, or that sometimes stuff happens, and I don’t like to make waves unnecessarily, but I have learned it helps to speak up. In this instance, the sheer dishonesty of sending off a clearly unsatisfactory product to a customer paying for a new item was just plain wrong. It was wrong for me, and wrong for the next guy it might be foisted upon.

The Power of Squawk…

So I used the power of social media to squawk my complaint. It isn’t that I don’t believe I couldn’t have gotten satisfaction another way (through negotiation by complaining to the store manager,etc). My husband was doing that, but my own goal was to hopefully improve the way business gets done, for myself and for other customers, AND get a quick resolve on the issue. Any midwesterner with three acres of fast growing grasses, a rainy May weather pattern, and no mower, knows my need for a speedy resolve in this issue.

But that is the benefit of social media for the consumer, not for the business. For the business, social media is like a big PR machine. You want happy customers talking about how great your business is, not magnifying your poor service and below par product.

This home improvement store should have had more quality control, because bottom line, it is a good buying experience and a quality product that is going to make me happiest, and to give repeat business. And blog, tweet, and facebook that happiness- besides the Yelp reviews, et al….

Lots of businesses are investing in hiring bloggers, professional social media people, etc. to promote their businesses, but if they aren’t taking care of the customer in the store- it is all waste of time, space, and money.

How it was resolved and the lessons of that….

Home Depot

  • delivered a brand new, uncarted mower in reasonable time
  • apologized both verbally, and in handwritten letter for the trouble and inconvenience
  • included a gift card with the written apology

Those steps went a long way to assuage the anger, but I came across a business maxim that presents the lesson best learned by businesses in this post:

The bitterness of low quality is remembered l-o-n-g after the sweetness of too low pricing is forgotten

That is also true for the experience of feeling bunked by a business after they have tried to mop up the mess and attempted to make things right for the consumer.

As I remarked on my twitter account: people will RT ( Retweet, or multiply the message) a rant far more often than they will RT the satisfaction of the complaint.

Since my husband and I are also long time D-I-Yourselfers, and write a blog about the experiences of remodeling, etc. Home Depot would have benefited far more from just delivering on their goods and service in a quality controlled way, than anything that might have been gained from trying to unload a second rate piece of merchandise.

They didn’t know this customer blogged and twittered.

But now they do.

Businesses who pay attention to responses from their customers, or those of related businesses can learn about what is important to them and their customers. They can discover the priority of business practices without having their CEO needing to go undercover to find out how to improve.

And that is what makes social media a win-win for everyone, because I don’t want to rant and rave about poor service or second rate merchandise. I want to have a happy shopping experience and get my lawn mowed.

On the other side of it, people who relate within social media have responsibilities to be fair, and to try to better their world. I wrote about that at an earlier time, 5 Things The Web Taught Me.

Starting Out Right With A Rant or Two

Some things really get to me. One of those things is the passive aggressive way people use to cut you to size, while they are pleased that butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth. I don’t say much to them- I used to argue, but that doesn’t work with a passive aggressive. They are always right …while they complain that you think you are.


This one might be related. It is Christians with that tongue in cheek joke about so-called debunked doctrine in their oh so knowing way. That bothers me. Mostly it is skewering things that they accept in other areas of life (sometimes they notice this, sometimes not); often having to do with faith or prosperity for Christians, sometimes having to do with healing. Never was there a better scoffer. Conflating faith with mere positive thinking, although positive thoughts have something going for them in their own way…. just not on the same spiritual plane. Yet, positive thoughts are given more sanction than words based in faith.

We are bombarded daily with the most inane, depressing news, negativity, and twisted imaginations. In the face of such it can be a downright struggle to keep from sinking into a morass of of despondency. The problem is not with the truth hidden within such things as “the Prayer of Jabez”, but within ourselves and what we do with it. God never has handed out shortcuts or get rich schemes, but He does have much to say, and an ultimate say, in health, wealth, and happiness of individuals. Many of Job’s friends made the mistake of interpreting these things as signs of God’s approval. They are signs of His grace and mercy, but that has little to do with our virtue in most times and cases (unless God chooses for it to be so). Let’s face it, though, they are things we all desire and need.

It is easy to make fun of prayers for prosperity when we are filled to the gills with it, and have little awareness of how much springs from God’s goodness alone.

I’m a little tired of smugness in the face of such goodness and mercy. The fact that it is often with little consciousness of its nature does not soften it for me- most ought to know better, but the savor of a good cut seems too much to deny.

An outright Atheist is more honest, I think.

A part of all this ranting is driven by the complete waste of time most of us tend to give to lambasting our own foundations for the sense of disappointment we have….rather than finding a faith filled way to transcend our own tendency to foibles and failures.

[rant over]

Deregulate My Clothesline, Please

I had to read it carefully to see if it was a joke. I’m still not sure, since it is one of those far-out nutty things that people do, but it seems there is a move to ban clothelines, and a “right to dry” counter movement. The things you find out on Twitter.

Read all about it on the Project Laundry List.

I don’t know about you, but it just doesn’t make sense to ban something that saves energy. The people who love to make rules get wayyy too zealous. And nuts. Didn’t they ever hear about “sunshine fresh” clothes? No amount of fake chemical scent will ever replicate that special outdoor fresh smell of clothes hung out to dry on a clothesline. Even pictures of old city apartments with the lines of wash hung out, stories high, have a quaint virtuous look to them.

I just don’t get it… and I hope those silly regulations get repealed. And I think there needs to be an arts movement that helps reeducate the aesthetic sense of people… to enjoy and celebrate the beauty of the commonplace. Make the clothesline a thing of celebrated art- do your part. Do we need a celebrate Washday day? Hang your sheets to the wind Day? What will it take to insert a bit of common sense into the minds of people who obviously have too much time on their hands and too little to do?

You Have To Read This

Garofalo is so in touch with the black condition, that she is uniquely qualified to assess and understand my people’s “condition.” Her intimate knowledge of blacks allows her to interpret how blacks think, and then translate “black-think” for the rest of America. “Cuz Lawd knows, we kaints do dis for ourselfs.”

“…to the Rescue” by The Black Sphere.

Ah yes, but who wants to hear it?

Bad Bush Behavior or Continuing Clinton Calamity? « iNkY’SpOt-musings of a missionary mom

Sometimes the farmer reaping gets blamed for the seeds of the sower…

…now tell me again…. where did the economic woes start? Maybe not with Clinton’s administration, exactly, but they sure revved up at that point.

Greed has gone on for a long time unchecked, and was due for a correction. However, we all hope for

Isaiah 39:4-8

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD Almighty: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD.

“The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”

Big Bad Ricki Lake

At least that is how the Doctor’s associations would have you understand it…. along with how benign, nay beneficial, all their own interest is in your choices of how to give birth to your baby.

Women struggled long and hard, labored you might say, in the last few decades to attain the “permission” of the medical sector to have a say in their birth environment. It wasn’t the friendly medical establishment that brought you birth centers, midwife attendants, and many of the improvements to the mother’s job of giving birth. It is our job and no man is going to do it for us…. but plenty of them by way of the ACOG and the AMA want to tell us the best way to do it… and they are the experts! We all know that these experts have only our wellbeing in mind , untainted by any other “shhhh! bottom line” monetary considerations.

They were winning the propaganda war as far as I can see, but I guess Ricki Lake made a serious enough dent in that , and its goal of giving teeth to their power play through legislation, to make her a target.

Big Bad Ricki Lake, and all the other uppity women who don’t understand how the medical establishment just wants what is best for all of them. Lobotomies, anyone?

The Business of Being Born

The ACOG statement, supported in a resolution Tuesday by the American Medical
Association, said, “There has been much attention in the media by celebrities
having home deliveries,” citing a “Today Show” headline that read “Ricki Lake
takes on the baby birthing industry: Actress and former talk show host shares
her at-home delivery in her new film.”

“It’s scary that both (the ACOG
and the AMA) have sort of targeted me,” Lake told The Associated Press on
Tuesday. “And, you know, I’m all about choice. This is not unlike the abortion
issue. I am pro-choice when it comes to childbirth and choices in birth. Home
birth was around long before hospitals were taking over – and I just think women
need to know (the information) so that they can make the best choice for

The AMA resolves in the statement to support state legislation
“that helps ensure safe deliveries and healthy babies by acknowledging that the
safest setting” is a hospital, connected birthing center or other approved

Being Men of Good Will

I sent a little business through Amazon to a fellow Christian, and it made me think about something I just don’t understand very well. When in another fellowship than the one I now attend , I kept hearing grousing about doing business with other Christians, and through the years I’ve seen a type of petty begrudging about other Christians success. As if encouraging them and supporting their business would be so onerous a task.

Now, I’ve seen plenty of efforts to the opposite, as far as compiling lists of Christian businesses etc., but that little streak of ill will is what bothers me. It seems we ought to rejoice in each others success, and further it if it is in our power to do so. Like the “Buy American” idea. You support a whole raft of ideas, not just a selfish patronization of your own nation… like fair wages, and benefits, good working conditions, protection of the vulnerable ( i.e. child labor laws) -good things like that.

The same way as with believers, we ought to develop good will towards one another to the greatest extent possible, and I believe that God blesses that. After all, isn’t that how te good news came from the angels in the Christmas announcement? Peace, to men of good will.

I have always liked the quality of magnanimity in a person.

There used to be a sort of fad that was “random acts of kindness”, and it seems to me that Christians could develop that to a fine art if they chose. I think I should consciously attempt far more than I do, because I tend to experience contraction of my actual giving of late. I have always had generous impulses, but now the pragmatic concerns speak more loudly. I want to balance wisdom in giving with a generosity that comes from good will. It isn’t always in money- and doesn’t need to be. Sometimes the money giving is marred by the lack of good will. Good will would go further in attending to the inner need that created something of the money crisis, anyway.

I think we should desire to see each other prosper. I wish people in the Church would stop making the words, prosper and prosperity into dirty words. There is a wholistic type of prosperity that God’s promises through the salvation of Christ gives to His people. We say we should be giving, but if we are always struggling under bills…. what happens to that impulse to be generous? Often it dries up.

I’d like to say more at some time, but for today I encourage anyone reading to do something to spread good will around their corner of the world. Increase your smiles, your kindness, your words of encouragement, and a spare a brother a dime … make it viral.

The Squeaky Wheel

No one is reading my blog. Or it seems that way. And now I’m beggi’n for you all to throw me a bone- link or visit or something that tells me I don’t do all for naught;)

I have been writing other places, and that is some of the problem…. maybe…. I tell myself. Or maybe it is that Dúnadan problem. I know I’m whining, so let me give you a little list of the posts elsewhere.

Two @ Intellectuelle:
It appears that Paris Hilton is an example of Classic Schadenfreude, and here, we were all wondering why all the fuss.

A little post linking to Answering Muslims commenting on the question,“Can a Person Be Both a Christian and a Muslim?”

If you have already read them, forgive my need to highlight them here.

I have also been writing some gardening pages, one on gardening in dry weather and one on Lavender, as well as trying to keep up the garden journal.

Besides that, like everyone else I’m trying to fill my summer with lots of fruitful and pleasurable pastimes 😉

…and work, like trying to keep the new plants in my garden watered while praying for rain.

internetmonk raves » Blog Archive » Hard Times For The Gospel: A Rant

And then you simply have your garden variety legalism that eats up the minds and hearts of millions of evangelicals who believe their job is to be good and to make others be good, too. These are the prudish, finger-wagging, Christian media addicted do-gooders who want two-piece bathing suits banned, rap music burned, gays “helped” and Chuck Swindoll taken off Christian radio.

yeh,yeh, it’s all true. Yet, one thing is needful… why don’t we just calm down and realize that as far out of whack as things get, in their proper context they had a purpose. There was a reason for the moral majority and the culture war, and part of that reason was to release the gospel from the stranglehold of those who suppressed it or gutted it.

And “worship junkies”? Excuse me? Is it all emotional tripe- or did you just get a different taste of the frozen corpse of the PCA than I did – growing up in a church where there was precious little gospel to be had and even the fine music of “worship” couldn’t keep me from the frenetic hippy culture of the day.

Methinks it is just the pendulum swinging …again.

But there is a real answer in the gospel- and I am sure internet monk knows of it and rejoices in it- I just don’t think his complaint serves to get us back to it. I completely disagree with his assessment of the Charismatic stream.

And stop telling me what the gospel isn’t. I had a bellyful of that. Tell me what it is. That is all we need to hear: Who Jesus is, and what he has done for us. There is the good news. Oh yeah, that is what “gospel” actually means, isn’t it?

Evangelicals and the Environment- what is the truth?

In fairly close proximity of time, I came across these two posts about the perception of how Evangelicals line up on environmental issues. The first I came upon was the “Hungarian Luddite” I didn’t give too much deep thought to it, but then came across The Pulpit Magazine’s Evangelicalism and the Environmental Movement post.

What struck me is the light manner in which some issues are handled by the leadership of Evangelical churches. I’ve run across this before. In seeking some input on what view is taken on the issues of ‘Women in the Church’ – I was a bit surprised by the take that “it isn’t a fundamental issue”. This is how I think MacArthur is handling the proposed Evangelical stance concerning environmentalism… it gives somewhat more ballast to what was said over @ the Hungarian Luddite blog. Not evidence, just a little more weight in that direction.

It is giving me reason to knit my brow. What turned me toward the direction of checking out The Pulpit? Those instigators over at Pyromaniacs, God love ’em;)
And here is how out of the loop I am: I don’t even know what is meant by “the lordship debate”. I guess that is something I give short shrift to.