For any local business, there’s the problem of what I call the ‘customer from hell.’ This is the person, the unhappy camper, who hates your business so much, they trash you on Yelp, they write a nasty review on Google, or perhaps they create a YouTube video of how much they hate you and how you’re the worst thing to hit planet earth since ‘unsliced’ bread.
Here’s a new wrinkle on ‘customers from hell’ – customers who are seeking to ‘prank’ your company by being ‘outrageously famous.’ For example, California’s In-N-Out Burger chain (which has some of the best burgers here in Cali, by the way), is suing Cody Roeder for various pranks perpetrated at its stores. According to the BBC, “One incident allegedly involved Cody Roeder telling a customer their meal was “contaminated” and “garbage” while pretending to be the company’s chief executive.” (See: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43572160 for the full write-up). You can check out the Troll Munchies channel on YouTube as well.
Now, these videos are funny – you have to sorta, kinda admit that… but if you’re a big, public brand, this is a new wrinkle in social media in the ‘customer from hell’ scenario. Someone who – for whatever reason – is busy trying to make your digital marketing life a living hell, with little or no regard for the truth, legalities, or PR. YouTube, in particular, can be very much the “youth culture” so it can be loud, obnoxious, and all about fame or fortune with a bit of reckless disregard for the law, ethics, morality, good taste. For further horrification, check out what’s trending on YouTube – always a good way to be horrified about the culture (plus have some fun). Social media marketers – beware.