You Don’t Know Who You’re Messing With

I conduct a monthly seminar, Marketing 101, for the Northern California Small Business Development Center, known as the “SBDC.” I am fortunate to have piloted this session for the better part of a decade. One of the relevant factoids I’ve uncovered over that time is that a satisfied customer will tell five of his friends that he had great service, while his unhappy counterpart will spread forcefully the message of his discontent to 13.

The exact numbers might be debated but that would miss the broader point:

When someone wrongs us with dreadful service, our first thought is, “You don’t know who you just messed with!”

Come on, be honest, isn’t that the truth? Bad service has happened to you, right? And your reaction is to launch forth — sometimes with quixotic zeal — on a “mission” to bring down the offending business and correct the travesty of this injustice, while informing all you meet to steer clear of that worthless enterprise. I know I’ve done it. I’m sure you have too.

That caused me to ponder why in situations like that, we consider ourselves powerful and important; while in other circumstances, we give away that same influence.

It’s because of adjectives.

(Huh?)

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