Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Squeaky Wheel

Ever since I was in high school, I've had a bit of a consumer habit that I'd like to share: I went to Columbus School for Girls and at lunch time the "dessert lady" would circle with her cart passing out desserts. Now, all the other food was self-serve, but I think the food services realized how out of control we would get if we had unlimited access to high sugar foods so they decided it was in our best interest to ration it out. Anyway, we'd get things like pudding, ice-cream cups and the like. 

Well, I don't know who thought it of it, but someone at my lunch table thought it would be fun to start calling the 800 #s listed on the deserts to tell them what we thought about the products. So after lunch we'd make our way to the pay phone near the athletic office while one of us would make the call and the others would encircle as a means of support often throwing in our two-cents. 

Eventually, it crossed over to calling about other products such as Secret's "click-click" deodorant. They had a big marketing campaign when it launched and with most of us at our lunch table being atheletes  we decided to essentially call and give them an impromptu focus group. I don't know why we got such a kick out of this but by then our antics really started to annoy the athletic staff who could hear our phone calls and fits of giggles right outside their office. 

Now, I'm sharing all this to get to the point that these experiences stayed with me and as I've grown older I've taken to more appropriate consumer sharing of my product experiences. From writing a letter to McDonald's to tell them I loved it when they featured a chocolate-brown family enjoying The Book of Pooh in their advertising campaign, to letting Kozy Shack know I've rediscovered their rice-pudding as an adult and that I actually like it now, I've shared both praise and criticism with many companies. 

Usually, I'll get a generic response, but in the example of McDonald's they actually wrote me back letting me know they like receiving feedback about their advertising campaigns and Kozy Shack sent me coupons for more rice pudding! I've even inspired my past coworkers to write e-mails when they have product issues including one who found Sabra's hummus containers to not snap tightly and spill everywhere during her commute. They ended up using her suggestion to fix their lids AND gave her coupons for free hummus!

So yes, the squeaky wheel does get the grease, and if you end up sharing your feedback and getting a response, please let us know and we'll share your story.