Apple cider, pumpkins, ghosts…yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s almost Halloween. I get it. I have problems with the Day of the Dead, but I’ll get to that. What I want to know is if the season of grievances is upon us yet, or if it can come early this year? I want to know if it’s time for Festivus. And if it isn’t, I intend to let somebody know on Gripevine.
In case you missed the Seinfeld era, Festivus was an invented holiday, an alternative to a commercialized Christmas. “A Festivus for the rest of us.” Festivus commenced with an “airing of grievances,” memorably demonstrated by the character of Frank Costanza shouting, “I got a lot of problems with you people! Now you’re gonna hear about ‘em.” I was an instant fan.
In the spirit of venting complaints, Gripevine is a platform for sharing customer service frustrations. Who’s with me? If you’ve ever felt like nobody is listening or nothing will ever come of your grumbling, plant your gripe, post your story here. The company will receive notification and have the opportunity to address your concerns–can we get an automated operator to eat up 30 minutes of their time trying to reach the appropriate channel onsite?
Woe to companies that don’t reply. Customers can share their gripe onsite as well as through social networks. This is a chance to amplify gripes and pressure companies into action. The named offenders have the option of resolving each matter through private messages or in public–a chance to show off customer service savvy, demonstrate that they do care, that they pay attention and are capable of swift action. Or that we consumers would do better to take our business elsewhere.
Before You Spew Venom
It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this website could become a rabid catch-all for dissatisfaction of all kinds, a tedious nightmare of sifting through what is justified, entertaining, or dumb. To stem an onslaught of unwarranted gripes, there is a point system for Gripevine members. Useful commentary, sharing gripes, flagging inappropriate behavior, writing resolution stories all increase a member’s points, which helps establish credibility. Other members and businesses alike can gauge how apt you are at addressing legitimate issues and providing constructive input.
In addition to credibility points, members can rate the quality of service they receive while trying to resolve matters. A Customer Satisfaction Index lets viewers see how companies rank.
Gripevine was Co-founded by Richard Hue and Dave Carroll. As a precursor to the field of gripes, Carroll created a YouTube video about trouble with the airline industry. His revenge song, “United Breaks Guitars,” has been viewed more than 12.5 million times. Clearly the reception of his customer service frustration informed him of social media’s ability to share outrage and spur results.
I first came to the website like a shark speeding toward the scent of blood, ready to join a feeding frenzy. At the end of the day, Gripevine is civil forum, useful and productive. Customers need not feel like lone crusaders, and companies have the opportunity to resolve problems in a transparent manner. I’m a little disappointed, but I’ve got nothing to complain about.