Rewarding Good Behavior

Last Summer I went to the Blue Glass conference in LA. Having never been to LA, I came in that weekend to see some sights and hang out with my good friend Joanna Lord as well. It was an eventful weekend including a visit to a friend’s church. It was there I got to see Reese Witherspoon in person. Pretty cool huh?

But I digress. What this post is really about is the paradigm to reward those customers that bitch, moan, and complain loudly. On the internet and in search marketing, companies spend thousands of dollars dealing with unhappy customers. In many instances they ignore the customers that could potentially make them more money in the future by being advocates.

During my stay at the Marriott, my first night was met with very little sleep. My tweet stream shows the progression of annoyance. In short, there was a wedding … and the people staying on my floor were very drunk.

Okay, I didn’t mention Marriott here, but there is the first indicator.

There is the main mention. And I’m defending them. I mean it’s not their fault that there are annoying people in the world right? Right.

Rant continues … and yes, Josh Groban makes me happy … and calms me down.

A friend notices, and at this point I am pissed.

And now more so … that was the last time someone knocked though. 😉

And now still sticking up for them. What do I hear in return from this on Twitter? Nothing. I mention it to the front desk the next morning and they apologize. But it makes me wonder, if I had ranted, raved, and made a scene … could I have gotten a free night? Upgrade? I hear about people doing this all the time but can’t bring myself to do it.

Here is my point though.

Scenario 1: A customer complains of noise, yells and screams, and demands an upgrade to another room.
Typical Response: Giving what this customer wants to silence their negativity. The irate customer is silenced never mentioning the event again.

Scenario 2:  A customer gets upset but understands. Mentions the incident to the company.
Typical Response: They get an apology.
What should happen: In addition, they are compensated with a free night, spa treatment, or even just a few free drinks.
In Return: They then spread the word to friends, family, and maybe even online.

Word of mouth is the highest trusted form of advertising there is, so why not give up a $100 to a customer that may make you thousands in return? Think on that. </rant>


  1. Kate,

    Yes, I agree that word of mouth is the highest element of advertising and Marriott should had offered you a refund or something to redeem their great customer services status because although you didn’t complaint or storm to the hotel team directly, you did twit about it and many people saw it. If they had done more than apologize, I would assume you probably would had twitted that too.

  2. You know, it absolutely mystifies me when companies don’t take the second route. I’m often surprised they don’t think of scenarios such as the one you mentioned.

    Bad night experience: unhappy customer produced
    ONE unhappy customer = the following scenario

    Friend: do you recommend the Marriot?
    Irate customer: No. Their customer service sucks, I kept getting woken up every 2 hours because of wedding festivities. The least they could have done was refund my room or moved me to another quieter spot. I suggest hotel xyz, its cheaper and also much better customer service.

    Short term: minus $150 – $350 in sales for Marriot
    Long term: the average individual has 4-5 trusted friends, an influential will have much more. 150?

    Low end of losses for Marriot: $600-$22,500

    Then when you take it further and you have more than 1 irate customer (regardless of the fact its wedding festivities), just 10 unhappy customers will give you losses of $6k – $$225k.

    Imho, I hate it when people have myopic vision and don’t think outside of the well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *