Reptiles and Business Etiquette
Yesterday I was continually asked throughout the day if I saw the big blow out about the reptile shipping incident by various colleagues of mine. I responded I had seen a blurb regarding it on the Reptile Report, that was about it. Now let me make it clear, The Reptile Report only posted the image that was posted in the Social Networks and then reposted it with the title of
“Reptile Shipping-YOU CAN DO BETTER” they mention who received the animals and how another company would not do such things. End of…or is it?
Just this week alone, I’ve witnessed numerous incidents in social media regarding reptile companies and someones displeasure with said company. The comments and posts range from informing people that someone was given inaccurate information to out right name calling of certain employees or owners of companies. While I completely comprehend someones right to free speech and don’t think anyone should be censored for their particular beliefs, there’s a tipping point when we can go too far. When reporting stories journalists learn early on about defamation of character and slander. Those who aren’t journalists may not have a complete understanding of how the laws work regarding this, but that’s beside the point. As The Reptile Report stated so succinctly
“You can do better.”
My point to all of this is we as an industry need to face facts and understand the impact that Social Media has on our industry. Within the conversations (one of which I was involved in) not once in the hundreds of comments did any one mention our detractors like HSUS and others use this type of information as fuel for their agenda to pass laws against keeping reptiles as pets at all. Don Henley comes to mind with the song “Dirty Laundry”
“We can do the innuendo, we can dance and sing, when it’s said and done we haven’t told you a thing, we all know that crap is king, give us your dirty laundry.”
Instead, I saw in both incidents one being the owner of the company and the other being an employee of the company in question begin bashing anyone who spoke out against them. In one conversation, I explained to the employee that calling a customer ‘stupid’ or anything of the sort in public reflected poorly on their company. There was also another employee in the same conversation who was explaining (not making excuses) why the customer may have had a bad experience in the store.
Here are some suggestions for handling a complaint about a company without making a public spectacle and fueling the fire for our detractors which, as has been evidenced over the past few years (see more on this here) we are already well versed in and don’t need further assistance.
- The customer is ALWAYS right (even when they’re wrong)
- Don’t EVER make excuses fix the issue
- Always remain PROFESSIONAL
- The customer is always RIGHT
For Customer Complaints
- Know your goal of complaining (What do you want from them?)
- Identify the person who can assist you
- Be Professional
- Explain the issue (if more than one handle each one separately within the same interaction) and why you’re not happy
- Be PROFESSIONAL
I cannot emphasize this enough to my colleagues who are involved in the buying and selling of reptiles to the public or wholesale. Keep your complaints within the limits of those involved. When you air ‘dirty laundry’ in Social Media people take notice yes. However, it’s not limited to just your circle. Social Media is just that SOCIAL everyone can see it. If your specific complaint is not resolved take it up with the proper authorities who can, the Better Business Bureau is a great resource for this. I would imagine not many people even knew the Better Business Bureau handled such complaints but they do and they have in the past.
In closing, I am reminded of what my dad used to tell all his customers when doing business with them.
“If you like what I’m doing tell a friend, if you don’t tell me so I can make it right.”
When you represent or own a company your customers are your life don’t ever make the mistake that one customer doesn’t or cannot make a difference in your livelihood. Every interaction you have with the public whether customer or not reflects on you and your business. How do you as a business or customer handle it when it’s necessary to make a complaint? We’d love to hear your tips about how to get results.
Food for Thought: Reptile Apartment Group chooses their sponsors very carefully. Sponsorship is done on our sites by invite ONLY. Next time you need a service or product for your reptiles, check out our sponsors. It will save a lot of heartache.