When Garadget’s reputational mishap, makes us all afraid

 It is easy to forget when tempers are high, just how easy it is to destroy reputation that has taken a long time to build. Denis Grisak is the man behind Garadget, who has accidentally caused his company some reputational damage, by the way that he has responded to a disgruntled customer.

Garadget is a device that controls and monitor your garage doors via your mobile. It is supposed to make your life easier by ensuring that your garage doors open and shut when you want them to. It can also be used as a part of home automation; and can be fairly described as an ‘internet of things’ device.

R Martin had problems with the app and posted a complaint in an online forum, this wasn’t immediately resolved. They therefore left a 1 star review on Amazon. This was their review:

Junk – DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY – iPhone app is a piece of junk, crashes constantly, start-up company that obviously has not performed proper quality assurance tests on their products.

Grisak’s response was unusual. He decided to block R Martin from the online forum for 2.5 years, and to immediately stop the Garadget from working. This meant that R Martin couldn’t get into his garage. Grisak, also publicly announced the ID of the gadget (a perceived possible security risk), and told Martin that it was due to his ‘poor impulse control’, that Grisak had taken this action.

There are a number of things that this exchange highlights. Here are the two main things:

Firstly, Grisak does not appear to have tried to reach out to Martin privately to resolve the issue. He appears to have responded in anger and has little concern on how his response would be perceived by his or potential customers. I wouldn’t be surprised if customers were concerned about their private data and whether the company might disable their devices at a whim. It might not have occurred to them until now, that it was even possible for the company to remotely disable their device. This will make some people nervous.

The other issue is how this relates to other ‘internet of things’ devices. How trustworthy are they? What would happen if a rogue employee decides to disable or remotely view your wifi enabled internal security camera. Or perhaps they might open your wifi enabled front door. This exchange between Grisak and Martin, highlights the possibility that these things can happen. How secure does this make you feel?

What can be learned from this exchange?

  • Reputation matters. This exchange has been picked up globally, with the likelihood that it will impact on sales. They have currently got 117 reviews on Amazon with an overall rating of 3.9 out of 5. The last 20 reviews are either 1 or 2 star reviews. I’d imagine that a lot of people may have ignored these poor reviews and have bought one anyway, after all there are a small percentage in comparison to the good reviews that were left. However, if you do a Google search, as many buyers might, you will see mostly negative comments as the media report on the situation. This might have a bigger impact on your purchasing decision.

 

  • It’s best not to respond when you are annoyed. It might have been possible to resolve the situation, resulting in Martin posting the result. Bad customer service, that is fixed often has a bigger positive impact on reputation than is often realised.

 

  • This is applicable in all walks of life. Regardless of whether you are a business owner or an employee. For most, our reputation is our biggest asset. When we are employed we are still selling something. We sell our expertise, our knowledge, and our character. We want people to buy into us. This ‘purchase’ is only sustainable if we are selling an ethical, authentic product (ourselves). Trust and integrity goes a long way, and over time individuals with these traits are rewarded.

If you believe that you are not influential enough, or are unable to get people to ‘buy’ your knowledge, yourself or product then it might be time to contact someone to help. For those that are ready for a free initial conversation please feel free to contact Judith.

When Garadget’s reputational mishap, makes us all afraid
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