The Thank You Economy
by Gary Vaynerchuck
written from the perspective of a customer*
by Nicola Morgan
KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid.
Both of these books are written about social media, but they are written very differently. Tweet Right is specifically for Twitter, and as I found out after buying it, requires one to use Tweet Deck or don’t bother reading any further. Technologically challenged, I stopped reading after being unable to figure out how to download Tweet Deck. (I figured it out later, I’m not totally incompetent.) The Thank You Economy is much more broad. It’s about how to use social media effectively to relate to customers, do damage control, and give a positive emotion to your brand. At first, I was reading it as a marketer for work (since I have recently been hired at CardLab as a marketing associate). However, after being completely ripped off by AT&T and exposed to their deceitful and unethical business practices, I realized how much consumers could gain from this book as well, so it is with a little anger at AT&T, but alot off excitement that I bring you this three part series on The Thank You Economy.
I feel the need to throw in a little bit about Tweet Right because it was SO highly praised on Twitter that I thought for sure it was the golden ticket to understanding Twitter and building a following, but I never bothered to finish the book. As Gary points out in The Thank You Economy, having a million followers is great, but a number is a number. If it’s a superficial “I’ll follow you if you follow me” relationship and you haven’t built a connection with those followers, than having a thousand followers who know and interact with you is much more valuable. Don’t buy Tweet Right, and don’t be scared by Gary’s writing (he writes as though he’s talking to a business) if you know how to interpret it as a consumer, you can really use it to increase your influence over brands.
Let me stress one more time, just so everyone is on the same page. The primary goal of The Thank You Economy (the book, not the principle) is to convince businesses that social media is a huge resource for them to connect with customers and a marketing resource they should not ignore. This will be reviewed more in part two. Now that everyone is on the same page, here is my formal review of The Thank You Economy as a consumer.
I’ve had a problem with Dell before and I learned the magic words, “I want to speak to your manager.” It was like listening to a little kid get caught with their hand in the cookie jar and for the most part, it resolved my problem. Dell went above and beyond my warranty and I got a replacement computer. Calling in and acting like a reasonable, rational person solved my problem, but what happens when that doesn’t work? What happens when a company *cough*AT&T*cough* decides that you are not valuable, they just want as much money out of you as possible, and you are nothing more to them than their personal ATM?
Some people cancel their service and switch providers. Other, more vengeful people call every friend and family member they have and tell them AT&T is a horrible company, and not to do business with them, but does it really hurt AT&T? As one of the largest cell phone and internet providers, does it really matter to them if a customer and a few family members are upset? Up until the wide spread use of social media, not really. Now, it can have a great impact.
Say I get on Facebook and Twitter and I spout off about how AT&T advertises on TV in my area high speed internet for 24.95 a month for the first year for new customers with no phone line and no cell phone bundle, just high speed internet, (which they do) but after I sign up for the service, I get a statement for 48 dollars a month. When I call in, they tell me the 24.95 a month price does not exist. Seeing it on TV again, I call in and demand the 24.95 a month price. “That price is only for people who sign up online.” I am told. “Nothing we can do.” When I ask to get a manager, they put me on hold, have a little private pow-wow, kick their feet up and toast a glass of wine for all I know, and tell me that’s the best they can do.
Without social media, my cell phone bill would sky rocket because I don’t have a land line and I don’t have unlimited minutes, so I’m more or less SOL and AT&T gets away with charging me more. (By the way, they actually told me 19.95 a month, but that’s a whole ‘nother story for part 3). With social media, I have power. I have a voice. In one Tweet, I can reach 129 followers. That may not sound like alot, BUT some of my followers are really popular people. As an author, I am friends with other authors and three literary agents.
Author 3861 Followers
Author 5712 Followers
Author 6411 Followers
Author 6313 Followes
Author 6109 Followers
Author 13,398 Followers
I’ve talked to all of them, so they aren’t random follows, and I talk to two of them on a regular basis. Emlyn Chand is my boss at Novel Publicity, so when I’m upset about something, it’s not just random whining to her, she listens. She may not RT it, but if one of her friends asks her what she thinks of AT&T, she may remember my bad experience with them and warn her friend to stay away from them. (I removed their names because I didn’t know how they would feel about being mentioned in this context.)
If I had gotten those six people alone to RT me, my warning against using ATT would have over a 40,000 person reach. Now imagine if their followers had RTed, and so on, and so on. Suddenly I have the power to speak out against being mistreated by ATT and I have the power to warn others (like anyone who reads this blog) about AT&T.
Possibly most importantly, say that little snot nosed customer service representative had made no effort to get a manager, put me on hold and went for a smoke break, if you use social media to scream and shout enough, sooner or later someone at ATT is going to notice and possibly, upper management who had no idea there was a problem, will become aware of the problem and able to help make amends. In my case, one of the AT&T people reached out through Twitter and Facebook, but they still have alot to learn about The Thank You Economy principles because their handling of the matter even after reaching out was less than satisfactory. That will be explored in part 3.
The point of part 1 is to say, this book helps you realize your power as a consumer to get attention and work your way up the corporate hierarchy until you find someone who will listen to you, or you cause the company to lose enough business that sooner or later, they won’t be in business. In some weird way, I could almost classify it as an empowering self-help book.
5 stars as a customer.
*This is the first in a three part series. Coming up soon is a review on The Thank You Economy written from the perspective of a business as welll as a case study on AT&T, how they have implemented and failed at the Thank You Economy principles.
To see other book reviews by Ermilia or request a review, check our Book Reviews page.