Do you remember the good ol' days? Ok, if you're anywhere near my age, probably not. But just like me, I'm sure you've seen those old, feel-good TV shows that make life look like everyone lived in Pleasantville. Or maybe you've asked Grandma what life was like back then. My Grandma had 9 kids and still managed to know the names of every kid that lived within a 5-block radius (and wasn't afraid to scold them!). When they acted up, she called their parents. When she saw them helping another kid while outside playing, she told their parents when she saw them at church. People used to do the same thing with their local businesses, they gave them direct feedback.
I'm not going to sit and quote stats here, you can look them up yourself, but I think what I'm going to say you can agree is pretty commonsensical.' We are no longer a generation that gives feedback, instead, we quietly get up and leave, and then write a nasty review on Yelp. I know because I'm guilty of it too. A close friend of mine told me just the other day that his wife has been to 4 different hair stylists in the last year. Each time she gets her hair done they ask her how it looks, she politely says it looks great, then walks out to the car and tells her husband she's never going back there because she hates her hair so much. Now I'm not saying we never give feedback, but we are much less likely in today's day and age than say, 50 years ago. So how does any of this translate into fixing our economy???
First let's break down extreme basics of how our economy works. It's a circle; we go to work to earn money. We turn around and spend that money at another business. That business grows and has to hire more people, who in turn start making money that they also go out and spend at businesses. OK, simple enough. But when the economy's hurting, and each and every one of us has to pay a little closer attention to each dollar we spend, we become a bit pickier where it is being spent. We have a higher intrinsic value placed on what that dollar is worth to us, and therefore, where we spend it. So when you go out to eat, you expect a good meal and decent service. When you go to a hotel, you expect a clean room and plenty of towels. And when you head to your local clothing retailer, you expect nice fabrics in the latest styles that are well sewn together.
So what happens when our expectations are not met? We go home quietly, Yelp, tweet, and tell our friends about our poor experience. We use the oldest form of advertising that will never go away, word-of-mouth. And then we usually never go back and give the business a second chance. Well, have you thought about how much that poor review might hurt that business? I'm sure you've heard the old saying about when you have a bad experience you will likely tell 10 friends about it? Multiply that by 1,000's now with the ability to connect socially with the entire globe. Now think about how that actually makes the full circle and affects you.
That business is going to start hurting, which means they're laying people off, which means those people are now stacking up in the competition to get the small amount of jobs that are out there, which means you or someone you know has less of a chance, which means either you or your friends can't make it on that house boating trip you have planned this summer, which means the house boating industry is going to start declining, which means they are going to start laying people off, which means' Ok, I think you get my point. And you know what could have helped prevent ALL of this? If you had just simply told the business what they had done wrong so they at the very least had the opportunity to fix it for future customers and make sure they are getting the value they expected for their dollar.
Feedback ladies and gentlemen. It seems like such a minuscule thing, but that's the beauty of it. It's so easy and so effortless that each and every one of us can do it. Which means each and every one of us can help make a difference. Feedback, that old-fashioned neighborly love, is exactly where we can start bringing back our economy. And who knows, maybe if we give enough of it, it just might start spreading to our nation's leaders and they can start fixing the bigger issues to help us out.
The next time you feel a business hasn't met your expectations, tell them before you turn to social media. Hear what they have to say in response. Give them a chance. Then write that tweet.