Does Your Social Media Policy Cover This?

Many of you may remember my rant about fingerprint IDs at my local gym that I wrote earlier this year.  My unwillingness to submit my thumbprint causes the people at the front desk approximately 45 seconds of work time.  While I realize that 45 seconds per person might add up to a lot of time, frankly my opinion is that  you work the front desk, so do your job.

The story has thickened.  I recently took about a two month break away from the gym during the holidays, partially due to time constraints, and partially because I got tired of the bullying that would happen each time when I'd decline the fingerprint ID.  This last week, I've begun my swimming and lifting regiment again and my first two evenings, the attendants were excellent.  They didn't try to pressure me in to using the system and they just took my ID number and entered it in the computer while looking at my photocopied ID.

Last night was not so good.  As I entered and handed my ID tag to the attendant, he looked at me and said, "We don't take those anymore. You can do the fingerprint ID."

Error #1 - Don't lie to your customer as a bullying tactic.  Never smart.

I replied, "The thumbprint ID is voluntary and I choose not to do so."

Error #2 - He turned snotty at me.  Don't get snotty with your customer even if they're snotty with you.  You work in customer service.  It's your job to deal with this.

He said, "If you won't do it then you have to show me a valid Photo ID."

Now, according to my contract, which I've never received an addendum to, a photocopy ID is acceptable.  If you want to have a contract, the legal binding goes both ways people.  You want to change the rules, you better send out an addendum and have people sign it.

But I happened to have my photo ID with me, so I gave it to him.  He put it in the computer and I walked away.  This should have been the end of the story.  But, of course, it's not.

When I got home, there was a NASTY email in my YELP in box.  At first, I thought it was anonymous spam.  Then I clicked on the sender's profile, and, behold - Guy from the front desk.  WITH A PICTURE.  I captured screen shots of his profile, the email, and the large good resolution picture on his profile page.   Then I thought, "Heather, maybe you're wrong.  Maybe this isn't that guy."  So I showed the picture to Alan without telling him about the nasty message.  He took one look and said, "Isn't that the guy from the gym?"

Gym guy's nasty-gram started with the caveat: "I'm not representing any entity except myself..." 

Error #3 -I got news for you, people.  If the only time you've ever had an interaction with someone is at the place where you work, and you hunt them down through Social Media to harass and insult them, then you're still representing the company.

And when I called their corporate office this morning to report the incident, they were none too pleased about this act of representation.  When I disclosed that I had the screen shots and a photo of the guy, they were even less pleased.  In fact, the only person who was pleased was the facility general manager, who, by the way did an amazing job handling this situation, when I dropped the screen shots on his desk and he realized he had a chance to smooth over this situation before I went totally public with it.  I'd like to commend him on how he handled me as a customer, and the reward for that is that I'm NOT posting those screenshots to my blog, facebook, twitter, and adding them to the bottom of my YELP review. 

As a customer with a unique viewpoint, I realize this wasn't the work of the company against me.  It was the work of a rogue agent within the company, who didn't realize that with social media, you don't get a free pass. 

I know it's hard to be in a customer service job some days.  People can be rude, snippy and sharp with you for things that aren't even your fault.  But resist the urge to tell them what you think of them, via social media or any other communication, because the only person who loses is you.  This guy might have been having a bad day.  Or maybe he wasn't happy that I didn't do the ID thing.  Or maybe he's just a jerk who thought that a single caveat would protect him from professional repercussions.

It doesn't really matter.  At the end of the day, what's left is a potentially volatile situation and a good possibility of losing your job.

So how does your company plan to handle the occasional "rogue agent" that crosses the line with social media?  It can happen to anyone, and I'd love to hear your policies!

Uncharted - Courage to Ditch the Map

You Can't Afford to Skip the Shot