How to ruin your reputation with a single email

Posted by Curt Moss on Feb 26, 2010 1:09:00 PM

Don't give your members fuel for negative word of mouth.There's a story making its way around the internet right now about a woman in Minnesota who tried to pay for tickets at a local movie theatre with a credit card.  After learning that the theatre only accepted cash, she left the theatre to get some cash and returned, only to continue the unpleasant experience.

Upon returning home, she sent an email to the company that runs the theatre.  While her email could be considered mildly inflamatory, the resulting reply is profanity-laden and offensive.

Read her full email and the reply here. Warning: the article contains profanity.  

So, what did she do?  (Besides never go to the theatre again?)   She told her friends - creating negative word of mouth.  And, she started a Facebook group called, "Boycott St. Croix Falls Cinema 8."   In just a few days, more than 4,300 people joined the group - about twice the population of the town.

You can also read a "clean" synposis of the situation and additional apologetic replies from the company here.    But, the damage was already done.

The lesson:  No communication is disposable!

Chambers of commerce often represent wide arrays of business types and not all members always agree with everything the chamber does or says.   It is likely that staff members of chambers of commerce receive emails, phone calls and personal visits from members who disagree with something or even had a bad experience with the chamber.

A good rule of thumb to ask yourself when replying is something like, "Would I be OK with this appearing as a headline in tomorrow's paper."   If not, don't click send or sumbit.  And don't leave that voice mail.

Remember the example from last year of the Batesville AR Chamber executive had to resign over some anti-Obama posts on Twitter.

Don't be afraid to communicate with social media or email, though! Just make sure you're crafting your communications wisely.


Topics: Membership Marketing & Technology

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