Is Stupidity Contagious?

Is Stupidity Contagious?

Yes, it is.  That’s why when someone posts something negative about your showroom or yourself, you need to act immediately to proactively resolve the issue even if you are dealing with unreasonable people whose vision of reality is vastly different from most others on the planet.  Negativity breeds more negativity.  

In his book Brandwashed, Martin Lindstrom describes an experiment he conducted in a restaurant.  He hired four actors to have dinner together.  Each ordered the soup.  After eating the first spoonful, one of the actors complained about the scalding temperature and went on a three-minute rant that was heard by other customers in the restaurant who were there as diners and not part of the experiment.  By the end of the evening, 26% of the customers complained about the temperature of the soup.  This means that either every customer had a sensitivity to heat or the actor who complained loudly about the soup’s temperature influenced all of the other patrons.

The bottom line is that if existing or potential customers read a number of complaints about the quality of your service, products, experience, etc., then others may expect to have similar problems even if they don’t exist.  

The lesson here is that you need to be proactive.  You can’t delegate problem solution to manufacturers, representatives or installers.  You may not like it, but in today’s connected, viral Internet world, consumers own our brands.  What customers say counts even if their statements are not true.  Apologize for a customer’s bad experience and offer to be a source of assistance.  

Flipping the funnel, if bad experiences can cause others to perceive similar experiences whether real or not, then good experiences and positive reviews can have the same effect.  That’s why it is equally important to encourage satisfied customers to express their opinions online as well and explain why they were surprised and delighted by the quality of what you did for them.

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