Why are you on Twitter, @Meijer?

rantCustomer service – why is it such a lost art?  Why do we continue to put up with piss-poor customer service?  Isn’t our dollar worth a little respect?   Why are you on Twitter, Meijer?

The story:  On Sunday, I went to Meijer in Fort Wayne (located on Illinois Road) and bought some Fresca for my mother-in-law who lives in a residential nursing home.  My youngest daughter was with me (she is 16) and I’m only at Meijer because I forgot the Fresca while shopping at Kroger the day before.

My daughter loves the self-scan kiosks so I give her full control and am there just to pay, like most parents.   She gets the first item scanned and things are good.  She gets to the second item and it won’t scan.  She keeps booping it across the machine…nothing.  My fuse is growing shorter with every boop and after the fourth or fifth one, I’m done.  I turn to the cashier and ask her to please come over and help.

The cashier comes over and it won’t take her code.  She keeps saying, “This machine s always temperamental.”  My red flag is going off now. It’s “always” this way?  She keeps trying and after five minutes, even she is frustrated.  I grab up the stuff and tell her we will go to another cashier.   She says, “Ok” and walks away, leaving the machine open for the next customer to be frustrated when it won’t work properly.

Really?  All I get is an “Ok“?  [Remember, I went there for Fresca.] I ended up spending $90 on other stuff along with the Fresca.


Clearly, we didn’t break this machine; the store is refusing to use it dollars of profit to fix or replace the crappy machine.  What if the cashier had said, “I’m sorry.  Let me get you to a cashier who can ring you  out and get you on your way.”  (Sorry, I was clearly dreaming for a second there…)

I got to my car and tweeted to Meijer.  The response was “Thanks for the feedback.”  Ohmergerd.  It makes me question, “Why are you on Twitter, @Meijer???” [click to tweet them this question!]

So, why am I posting this?  Just to complain about Meijer?  No – I want to make sure the financial services community understands these types of experiences are important to analyze and make sure we do not repeat them:

Customer service is everything.  It’s still the most important differential in our profession.  We must be understanding, caring, confidential, friendly,  responsive, etc. because consumers must have a good experience when it comes to managing their financial landscape.  We bring peace of mind in challenging situations.

  1. Crappy customer service ruins anything good the company does.  In financial services, you might help a client get into a great investment vehicle where they make a great return, but if an assistant is rude, an insurance carrier takes too long to get back or you never return an email to the client – – guess what they remember?  Customer service is the difference in that memory being one that is great or meh.
  2. Respect the dollar.  Each of us has to work a certain amount of time to make a buck.  That time variable might be 1 minute to 10 minutes…heck, even more if you’re a kid who had to babysit all night to just earn a few dollars.  So why do we continue to put up with disrespect of our money?  When a company as a whole has poor customer service skills or lacks the ability to care about a customer’s experience, they are not respecting their dollar.  In financial services, we are probably even more aggravated by disrespect of money when all we do is work with clients to help protect theirs.
  3. Social media is a conversation.  Plain and simple.  If you’re simply on social media to talk at people and not talk with people, you look like a jerk.  It’s ok to share things that you believe your customers will find helpful, but if they talk to you – ANSWER them and be engaged.  If not, you’re not helping them be better clients and you’re not open to being a better company.

So is it ironic that Meijer posted this quote from Fred Meijer on Twitter just 23 hours before I complained to them?  I think not.


Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite


6 thoughts on “Why are you on Twitter, @Meijer?

  1. Social listening is vital. Nothing makes you feel unimportant, and your post meaningless like an auto-reply! Or even a standard “Thanks for the feedback” message. You might as well not even say anything at that point.
    It’s hard seeing businesses not care about social media, and just merely having a profile up when it’s so important to customer service and how your brand is represented. It’s like a call center, but everyone is listening in.

  2. Self-checkout and in-store kiosks are great tools to speed a customer through the sales process. Customer service, however, is not and should never be considered DIY. The advent of social media gives brands an opportunity to deliver a high value experience even if a staff member, local store, etc has had a misstep. To send out an automated tweet or not respond at all to a customer’s tweet demonstrates a total lack of awareness and caring on the part of the brand. Rather than take advantage of on opportunity, Meijer has now doubly burned a loyal customer. Unacceptable.

  3. This post actually made me laugh. Customer service has been dead for decades! Luckily my children are older now, though they were never really in the “Happy Meal” phase, and I’ve been able to avoid fast food restaurants for years now. And historically fast food restaurants are really bad when it comes to customer service. But, I too, shop at many of the big box stores on or near Illinois Rd. I have have low expectations there as well, though Menard’s has been good to me. It’s not like the 70s when my mother took us to the big, fancy downtown department store and you were waited on hand and foot. Those days are long gone. When I go to a big box store, I know what I want beforehand, get it and get out while avoiding those self-serve kiosks. Those never save time and are more aggravating than anything. To me, if I ever have a problem with a business, I like to deal with the manager or supervisor directly, either by person or phone. I don’t think social media is the place to air grievances.

    • Thanks for reading (and replying!) I guess I felt I had aired my ‘grievance’ when I was in the store and no one really cared. Why would they? If the clerks do not care, it’s a learned behavior from their “managers” and I feel confident, they couldn’t give a rat’s behind either. Interestingly, that I-Don’t-Give-A-Care attitude transcends across Meijer because they don’t care online either which made me ponder the question (and write the blog article) – – why are you even on Twitter then? Twitter is a conversational platform. Grievance or gratitude – it’s a way to engage a brand and talk to them. I don’t believe social media was designed to be this big, juicy lovefest (“You’re great… no no.. I think YOU’RE great…”) but rather like a second telephone line direct from the paying customer directly to the brand. If Meijer (or any other brand for that matter) is just on Twitter to tell us about how wonderful they are, that kind of makes them a jerk.

      Customer service for all intense purposes is dead. It just makes me appreciate my Amazon Prime membership even more! Thanks for your time!

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