positive social media Halifax

Winning Week: The $4.99 Banana

My friend Stephanie, The Money Finder, as you can probably guess by her company name, is frugal. Not cheap, just wise about how she spends her money. Stephanie and I network together at The Group Halifax every Tuesday morning at Smitty’s in Halifax. When you join a weekly networking group like this, you tend to eat the same breakfast every week… and Stephanie is no exception.

Each week Stephanie orders oatmeal and a fruit cup. It would stand to reason that each week her bill would be the same. Being the adventurous one in The Group, Stephanie switched out her regular meals for a while, but eventually came back to her oatmeal. When she did, however, Stephanie changed her order to just banana, instead of a fruit cup. When the bill came, she got quite a shock. Smitty’s had charged her $4.99 for a sliced banana in a pretty cup. $4.99. That should cover a whole bunch of bananas, shouldn’t it?

This is Stephanie’s actual receipt.

Now please realize, while Stephanie had sticker shock, she understands that her banana was going to cost more than $.39 /lb it would cost at the local corner store. If you read her blog post, you’ll see that her dissatisfaction was more a result of the lack of concern by the local manager.

Social Media and the $5 Banana

Of course, she asked the server to double check the price… yup, it was correct. The Manager was unwilling to make a change, so Stephanie quickly blogged about the $5 banana. What happened next illustrates the amazing power of social media.

Stephanie tweeted and posted the peelings off that banana story. Eventually some of her followers in British Columbia (over 6,000 kms away from Halifax), saw the post and took it up with the national VP of Operations for Smitty’s Canada. They were a regular group, meeting at Smitty’s, and promised the VP to never eat there again unless this issue was resolved. The VP reached out to Stephanie and promised to make good. The local Manager apologized to Stephanie, explained how the price got to be where it was and that she was charged for the wrong thing, and then promised to reduce the price within a few days. In the end, the price of her sliced banana was reduced to $1.69. There. That’s more reasonable, isn’t it?

The Power of Social Media

If it hadn’t been for the ability to blog, tweet and post about this incident nothing would have ever changed. Stephanie did the “right thing” first by talking to the Manager, but she was not satisfied with this result. Smitty’s clearly wasn’t monitoring social media, blogs or the internet for mentions of their name, or customer complaints. So this story brings home three very important points:

  1. You just never know who is listening, watching, reading your blog, tweets and posts. It could be someone from anywhere in the world that helps you get resolution, gives you the information you need, or helps you in some other way. That is the beauty of this digitally connected world we live in today. There are no boundaries.
  2. If you can’t get a resolution in person, sometimes going social is very effective–even if the company you’re complaining about isn’t social.
  3. If you are not a socially connected company, what are people blogging, tweeting and posting about you that you aren’t aware of?

The bottom line? Even if you’re not using the platforms, you can and should be monitoring them for brand mentions. A simply Google Alert could have stopped this much quicker. How are you monitoring your brand? Let me know in the comments.


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Comments (2)

  • Brian Vickery Reply

    Great story, and that is one reason why we are in the listening business. In this case, a consumer still had to go to the company to express their demands. If the brand had been listening directly, they would have caught the original blog post and any shares. Even Google Alerts and basic keyword searches should be used by all brands.

    April 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm
    • AnitaHovey Reply

      Thanks for stopping in Brian. Yes, there is a lot that can be done with out even being part of the social sphere. It’s hard to believe some companies aren’t interested in those options!

      April 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

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