Dave and his big, fat sense of entitlement

Can't we all just get along?

Internet, meet Dave. Dave is a composite character; a stereotype borne of the burgeoning masses of the entitled. You know Dave. He’s the keyboard warrior that gets fired up at service providers for not understanding that when he shouts angrily at the world they must come running with gifts of free things he didn’t earn and admissions of guilt they didn’t deserve. Of course Dave himself is employed yet should some unlucky punter stumble upon our rogue hero without three days written notice of intent to engage him in his day job, Dave is more than likely to regale us with the tales of wrath dispensed on those who dared to interrupt his life.

Unfortunately, entitlement is contagious. Physical symptoms are difficult to spot although should you find yourself in front of an entitled person or persons you may catch a glimpse of the laptop rash on their thighs and the arthritic curve of their dominant, mouse-deprived hand.

I’ve been trying to trace the origins of entitlement and initially I was considering money as the cause. Dave’s entitlement is often driven by the exchange of his money for a particular service. Dave is also paid money to do his job and yet feels entitled not to do it in an assumed stance of solidarity against the proverbial “man”. Then I realised Dave didn’t seem to limit his sense of entitlement solely where he spent his money – even free platforms built on the sniff of an oily rag by some clever kids who have watched their creation take on unprecedented, exponential growth seem to fall victim to the rage of the entitled.

As entitlement spreads like wildfire each individual case gets worse, spurred on by the collective voice that cuts across channels with the chant “you’re doing it wrong!”. Of course in the hysteria of entitlement we remain blissfully unaware that by shouting louder and longer we are creating tidal waves of noise that make it even more difficult for others to wade through to find the genuine calls for help. We stamp our feet like toddlers in a playground who have been told that because only 1% of us like playing on the swings the playground will continue to be a big sandpit for everyone else to use.

I think I’ve had enough of the analogies and being facetious. I know I’ve had enough of the Daves.

If you’re wondering why our service providers aren’t like totally all over social media it’s because they’ve stopped to think what the increase in promotional activity means for their customer service standards. Pity we haven’t. If you’re wondering why the social media team hasn’t solved the problem you tweeted 3 hours ago it’s because they’re sorting through the masses of content out there to find you, navigating the issues of confidentiality for your account (even if you don’t care) and finding an answer. While the call centre that you refuse to call has hundreds of trained staff to cover all aspects of the business their social media team of 1, 3, 5, 15 or 20 is just trying to do the best they can. And if you’re wondering why they don’t have hundreds of staff on their social media team yet then you need to look up from your iPhone for once, look around and realise that you are not the average Australian. And frankly if you took your $20 a month account elsewhere they wouldn’t freaking care less.

We like to talk about how real the online world has become and yet we seem to have lost our grip on reality – that the employee on the other end of the computer is a person doing their day job working for a business who needs to make money as a business to employ thousands of staff and deliver profits that plump up your super. Quite clearly I’m an advocate of the occasional rant – but it’s time we evolved from these origins of entitlement towards brands in social media and grew up a little. Let’s give Dave the boot.

/rant.

Disclaimer: these views come from me as a customer only. I’m empathising from the outside looking in.

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~ by mandi bateson on November 17, 2010.

24 Responses to “Dave and his big, fat sense of entitlement”

  1. “… look up from your iPhone for once, look around and realise that you are not the average Australian. And frankly if you took your $20 a month account elsewhere they wouldn’t freaking care less.”
    Champagne stuff. Excellent.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Glebe2037 and Mandi, Mandi Bateson. Mandi Bateson said: Dave and his big, fat sense of entitlement: http://t.co/6TI22Ad […]

  3. What a load of crock! Don’t let them use social media as a shield for not being able to respond to complaints. Recently I have emailed two companies directly to make well worded, calm complaints about their behaviour.

    The silence is deafening.

    “If you’re wondering why the social media team hasn’t solved the problem you tweeted 3 hours ago it’s because they’re sorting through the masses of content out there to find you, navigating the issues of confidentiality for your account (even if you don’t care) and finding an answer”

    Give me a break … it’s called the “reply button”

    • Daniel the fact that you pointed out that you made well worded, calm complaints about their behaviour indicates that you may know that I’m not talking about the usual customer service requests. To clarify I’m talking about the increasing number of people who rant and rave at companies (sometimes they’re not even a customer) with a sense of entitlement of priority service because they’re making noise on Twitter. These are the same people that deliberately spell the company name wrong and comment on how long it takes for their complaint to be found.

  4. Great post. The most salient point for me?

    “If you’re wondering why the social media team hasn’t solved the problem you tweeted 3 hours ago it’s because they’re sorting through the masses of content out there to find you, navigating the issues of confidentiality for your account (even if you don’t care) and finding an answer”

    Working in an environment when even responding to s person, and therefore acknowledging that they’re a customer, could be a breach of the privacy obligations our company has.

    Organisations, especially large ones, are struggling with how to approach social media, and respond to legitimate customer concerns.

  5. Great stuff Mandi!

    “If you’re wondering why the social media team hasn’t solved the problem you tweeted 3 hours ago it’s because they’re sorting through the masses of content out there to find you, navigating the issues of confidentiality for your account (even if you don’t care) and finding an answer”

    Exactly, just because Twitter works in immediacy doesn’t mean the processes the company needs to go through are. It also takes a hell of a lot to educate those parts of the business about the ins and outs of twitter and get things faster.

    When was the last time you publicly thanked or acknowledged the company when they did resolve your issue? You spend so much time making noise Dave, but I bet you they did their very best to try and help you and get that resolution. Did you spend time communicating that too?

  6. As a Dave, frankly I’m offended. ;P

  7. I was going to say, I hope you don’t mean MY Dave…but then you said he had an iPhone.

  8. Excellent article BTW 🙂

  9. Good read. I think the other point is at the moment as an industry social is very much in it’s infancy. This is highlighted by small teams devoted to it, if at all. As an industry we need to support one another better and not pull each others efforts down. In the long run this does not benefit anyone. I know that complaining is the lowest hanging fruit for small minded self entitled lemons like Dave that plague our industry- but they really need to follow etiquette better.

  10. Very well written Mandi – I think the question also needs to be asked – why do some companies provide an ‘online help service’ in the first place if they cannot honour it or use if effectively?

    Some companies seem to do it because they feel they have to to ‘keep up’ with the crowd. But if that help service isn’t very good, then all it serves to do is further infuriate the customer.

    I think it works both ways.

    My husband has finally been told his phone will be delivered within three working days – a phone he ordered and provided all the paperwork (including inside leg measurement) for, three weeks ago.

    After two weeks waiting for and one week chasing his order himself on the phone with no luck, he tweeted his issue. It was picked up on by the team quickly, but they couldn’t help. They told him to call the provider. He spent THREE AND A HALF HOURS on hold to the company and then had to leave the office because he actually had to continue with his life in the real world.

    He tweeted about this and it was again picked up on. Again, he was told to call. After half an hour on hold, the phone was answered by a woman in a noisy call centre in India (he could barely hear her) who told him she could set up another contract for him and put through the order again – when he pointed out this would leave him with two contracts, and he just wanted the ONE, she had no solution. By this time, he was ready to kick a puppy.

    It is small wonder that people get utterly infuriated with companies when they have experiences like this but, as you say, we have to give them a chance – I think my husband treated the company who he had the issue with very fairly and gave them the benefit of the doubt and time to resolve the issue before he tweeted negatively. He himself is a business owner and so is probably more sympathetic than many, regarding the issues that businesses face, from time to time.

    I am not saying that the team at the phone company have not sorted out other people’s issues – I am confident that they have.
    Users of social media need to realise that the people dealing with their complaints are just that, people.

    However, companies who are providing the service need to honour that service in order for it to work. Things will settle down and once this ‘new phenomenon’ becomes the norm, hopefully the majority of businesses and customers will understand what is acceptable wait time and behaviour for issues brought to attention, via social media.

    Until then, companies and social media users have to meet in the middle.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment V! Not too long ago I was raging that companies dared to take on customer service in social media when they couldn’t even get it right in existing channels. I think at the end of the day we know the relationship between service providers and customers will be pretty bad. Is that complacency a bad thing? Probably.

      • I shall have to read that, and apologies for going on rant without doing so, but I thought it relevant to the article.

        And wow, that was quite n epic, maybe I should get a website of my own! ;o)

        By the way, for the record, no puppies were harmed.

      • Very relevant and not just what you said but how you said it – not naming and shaming the company. I’m sure the story is not unique amongst any of the telcos/gas companies/airlines/banks/government services. And yes I think you should start a blog, you always articulate your perspective on things so well

    • You raise really valid points. There is a factor you are leaving it out which could potentially be causing issues and is rarely accounted for when analyzing these and that is the role of the brand who is responsible for the product or service, even though you are relying on another company to bring it all together. When looking at mobile handsets there always seems to be a problem that arises with fulfillment on one particular brand of phones. Why does this not happen with others, is there someone else who should be taking responsibility though the Teflon on their logo is too strong?

      I recently got TPG to hook me up with ADSL2+. I was livid with TPG because Telstra couldn’t turn up in a 5 hour window when they were meant to twice or track/communicate to their drivers. In the end TPG took the brunt of my frustrations- in hindsight is this fair or should some of it be shared with the big T?

  11. Interestingly some of the comments reminded me of a post I wrote a while back pondering “is a great product/service an excuse for bad customer service?”

    http://theoysterproject.blogspot.com/2010/04/is-great-productservice-excuse-for-bad.html

  12. […] far as what got people talking, these two posts about social media and customer service and spreading the love sneak into the top […]

  13. […] controls social media in an organisation? “Unfortunately your audience doesn’t care that your organisation has very separate PR, marketing, sales and customer services departments,” […]

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