Monday, April 11, 2011

The Benefit of Being An Informed Consumer

 Companies love to hear from their consumers.  Information from consumers  (good or bad) helps them adjust their product to better serve the needs of their clientele, and often the company will thank you for your opinion with coupons, samples, or a replacement product.

As a child I can remember my mom occasionally calling companies if there was a major problem with a product, and often they would send a replacement item, or something of the like.  This lesson has been passed down, and I know that at least one of my sisters will also call manufacturers if there is a problem.  In fact, one time my sister, Natalie, found a rock in her Zatarans (I think it might have even broken one of her teeth) and they sent her a HUGE box of replacement products & samples as an apology.
Now, I'm not in ANY WAY condoning calling a company and making up a problem.  I think that is HIGHLY unethical; however, I see no problem calling a company to either praise their product or let them know there is a problem.  It makes companies serve their consumers better.

A year or so ago I bought some bath oil when it was on sale.  I hadn't used it & several months later I pulled it out & it had weird little floaties all in it.  I was wigged out so I called the company; while they said it was still ok to use, I said I was quite uncomfortable using it.  In the end they sent me a check so I could replace the product.  I did, was quite satisfied with it, and haven't had a problem since. 

Yesterday I was washing dishes in the dishwasher & my Finish Powertab didn't dissolve, it just sort of melted all over a handful of the dishes & made a big nasty mess.  Now this isn't the first time this has happened to me; I'd say it has happened at least 50% of the time & it always results in me having to run the ENTIRE wash cycle again.  It just about kills a water/energy saver like me to waste soooo much unnecessary energy.  Yesterday I got annoyed enough that I vowed to call the company & complain.  It took a little bit of time, 10 minutes or so, but the end result was a coupon for a replacement box of detergent.  I'm still skeptical that it will work, but at least it provides me with some new detergent & I'll give them one more try.

I have also called companies to let them know how much I love their products with mixed results.  Some LOVE that you like their product & will send coupons so you continue to use their product.  I've also called some companies & they've said thanks very much, gave me a little info, but didn't offer and coupons.

I would say that of the handful of times I've actually contacted companies I've had a positive experience, & about 95% of the time I either get a coupon or some sort sample.  While I wouldn't suggest devoting a lot of time to it, if you feel passionately enough, contacting companies to review their performance can be a worthwhile habit.

 Just remember to always be ethical about the call, have the packaging in front of you, and remember you are talking to a HUMAN BEING who deserves to be treated well & with respect.  Even if the Zatarans broke your tooth.  

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