Why the future belongs to the blogging customer

I read somewhere that a customer that feels mistreated after a purchase tells 12 other people about that negative experience. Well, if that customer has a blog, that figure might now be 10 or 100 times higher.

A few weeks back I spent more than 4,000 SEK (about 550 USD) on wallpaper at my local paint dealer Färgtema in Täby, Sweden. I bought two different wallpapers, loads of paste and putty. We renovated our bedroom and put the wallpaper up and it looked great. I was however a bit bummed by the fact that we had bought one roll too many of the expensive paper (560 SEK each), but that was because it was hard to figure out if three or four rolls would be enough. We couldn’t return the extra roll so that money was lost, but there was really no-one to blame. Then the paint dealer sold us 12 litres of paste but we only used up about 4 litres. Of the 8 extra litres we could only return 2.

They had the second wallpaper on stock so any rolls that we didn’t use we could return. We ended up using 4 out of 6, and we wanted to return one of these two because it had a few dents in it. The problem was that we didn’t discover this until after we had torn the plastic off. So when I went to the store today they didn’t want to take that roll back, because we had opened the wrapping and they couldn’t get a refund for the product themselves. And not only did I have to argue with one of the sales clerks, but two, so I was feeling a bit uncomfortable and didn’t really push strong enough to make them take back both rolls.

From my perspective as the customer, I had spent 4,140 SEK in this store, out of which at least 1,088 for products I didn’t use or need (562 + 223 + 223 + 80). So when they question why I want to return one roll (“I’m not accusing you, but it might as well be you who made these dents in this roll”) it really made me annoyed. My question is, is your reputation worth the 223 SEK you saved by sending me home with a roll of wallpaper I don’t need? Of course not. Do you think I will come back next time I’m renovating my house? I doubt it. So when more and more customers start their own blogs, prepare to read some nasty stories about bad shopping experiences. Your brand is on the line, yes, it’s online!