Here’s my thinking: I AM THE CONSUMER. If not for me and my shopping buddies, you wouldn’t be in business. We are at the core of what you do! But you see, we generally don’t voice our opinions to the retailers. We might bitch to a friend that we received bad service and poor quality goods, but we never tell the retailer. At least some of us don’t. But those of us who are vocal consumers, like my friends on Yelp, can really do a lot to change the way retailers perceive the power of their patrons. Yelp is an amazing company. I truly get to say what I think, and the retailers truly get to comment back. And it’s up to them what kind of experience they want to create from the commentary. Look, the bottom line is that nobody wants to hear something bad about their company or service, but retailers can really turn that into a plus and show us consumers why we should give them another try or change our opinion. But most don’t. And some get angry. And many forget that old, clichéd adage that “the customer is always right”. In my company we have a section in our employee handbook dedicated to our company philosophy and that includes how we speak to customers. There in black and white print is says that your first response should ALWAYS be “I’m sorry you had that experience. How can I make it better?” It’s our chance to create a customer for life. And I guess I expect that same attitude from every brand I interact with. So I Tweet and I Yelp and I squeal and I squawk. And somewhere at the intersection of that fine line between self-righteousness and helpful criticism, hopefully someone will make some good out of it all.