The Customer Complaint Heard 'Round the World

July 3, 2014

We've all experienced poor customer service at one point or another. How have you resolved it? For Gica Yabu, a frustrated customer in Brazil, she turned to SlideShare to express her frustrations with Oppa, a Sao Paulo-based furniture startup backed by billionaire investor Peter Thiel.

When Yabu, a branding and innovations consultant, experienced numerous instances of poor service from Oppa -- including receiving furniture in poor condition and unresponsive customer support -- she published a SlideShare detailing those experiences with the company.

“I do presentations all the time because, in my opinion, they are the best way to expose ideas -- no one has the time to read articles and blog posts,” Yabu says. “I did a clean and objective presentation, just exposing the facts. No swearing, no threats, nothing. It was pretty classy and respectful. I uploaded it to SlideShare because this is what I do to all my public presentations, and then it all started.”

"It" is a flurry of response to her deck, including a national magazine writing about her story, millions of people sharing it and a visit to her home by Oppa's president. Within two days of publishing her SlideShare, she got more than 6,000 Facebook shares and 56,000 views.

Yabu credits a few possible reasons for the virality, including sharing the presentation on her Facebook timeline (where the post was then shared by her strong network of marketing executives, advertisers and more), the engaging title ("Learn How to Destroy Customer Relationships - Or - Why I'll Never Trust Oppa Again") and the short presentation length (it was 22 slides).

"[People] felt represented there somehow," Yabu says. "And that was pretty crazy because tons of people started to add me on Facebook, inboxing me with encouraging and grateful messages like I was some kind of a customer care messiah."

It certainly attracted the attention of Oppa: Yabu received a visit to her house from Oppa’s president, Max Reichel, who brought tea, cake, new furniture and apologies, she says.

After the visit, Yabu decided to replace her SlideShare with a new deck that explained the full story, from the start of her poor experience with Oppa to the apology from the company’s president. The second deck was featured in an article in renowned Brazilian magazine, Exame, and that article was shared on Facebook by 2.9 million people. The 90-slide SlideShare now has nearly 50,000 views.

"I wasn't expecting so much buzz around it, but I understand why it happened: Being concise, polite and well designed are always a good start to get someone's attention," she says.

Yabu says if faced with a similar situation, she would upload another deck to SlideShare after her experience with Oppa.

“I've learned 2 things: 1) good content is and always will be good content, no matter the platform and 2) people are tired of bad customer service and if you do anything to change this reality, you'll be a new kind of Messiah.”

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Photo: Monkikk/Shutterstock