Have a customer service problem? Can’t get a reasonable person to help you from the company’s help desk? Then turn to social media and potentially tell the world. Just post a message or tell the story using Facebook, Twitter, etc., and hope that the company sees the post and responds.

When Bill Stern’s apartment burned to the ground he was devastated, losing much of his life’s possessions. He was then faced with the task of calling credit card companies, utility companies and more to let them know about his new address, canceled services, etc. Who would have thought that one of his biggest hassles would come from his television provider? It turns out that DirecTV refused to waive the early termination fee. It wasn’t like he just changed his mind. His home burned down.

This has the look and feel of the recent Spirit Airlines debacle when Jerry Meekins, a Vietnam veteran who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, asked for a refund because his doctor told him not to fly. In this case, it is Bill Stern and DirecTV won’t cancel his contract even though his house has burned to the ground. When are companies going to recognize that policies, especially in extreme situations, need to have flexibility?

Companies spend lots of money creating an image and a brand promise that hopes to create loyal customers. But for a customer to be loyal to a company, the company first has to show loyalty toward the customer.

The customer service representative at DirecTV needed to show some empathy and compassion for Mr. Stern. I can only imagine that if they showed they cared and waived the termination fee that Mr. Stern would be happy to continue the relationship once he found a new place to live and needed their service. Instead, they ignored common sense and alienated a customer. And, in the process this customer used social media to share the story. And, now it’s headline news!

Source: Source: NBC Channel 5 – Chicago, IL http://bit.ly/QGbrtq