By elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. -George Carlin
Question #92699 posted on 10/30/2019 7:36 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do you get companies to actually listen to you? Like if I want Apple & Blizzard to stop pandering to China, what do I do? What if I want the Pokemon anime to stop having a terrible art style? What if I want a video game ported to the Switch? Less live-action Disney movies? What can I actually do that will make the companies listen and reconsider?

#StandWithHongkong

A:

Dear Hashtag,

I'd like to know myself! I've been trying to get Cafe Zupas and other restaurants to ACTUALLY post allergen menus instead of putting up basic warnings that don't help at all. Emails, tweets, and other forms of communication don't seem to work.

-Goldie Rose

A:

Dear you,

Quite honestly, companies aren't going to listen to one person who doesn't have the power to significantly impact them. Business decisions are almost always centered around money or growth. Besides, even if companies were all about pleasing all their potential customers, pleasing everyone is literally impossible. Maybe someone else thinks there should be more live action Disney movies. Disney cannot accommodate both you and this other person.

If you really want to make companies reconsider things, either get a law passed to regulate their behavior, form a significant social movement in favor of your ideas, buy the company, or buy the people in charge of the company.

~Anathema

A:

Dear Hong Kong,

In short, you have to change the market or the demands on the company, much like Anathema said. Let me give you an example. Blizzard faced a lot of backlash from gamers and Reddit and Imgur among other things, and so have the other companies. Conceivably because of this, "the gaming company said it will reduce his suspension from a year to six months and return the player’s $10,000 in winnings from the contest" (source). The company is trying to balance between China's policies and demands on them which constitutes one of their markets and also the backlashing customers who form another market.

I recently talked to my dad about this sort of thing, specifically about socially innovative companies. He says that he doesn't like it when we classify companies into "purpose-oriented" and "profit-oriented", we're really disregarding a lot of what companies do. They have a customer who pays for the product, they create the product and pay employees to create that product, and they have a consumer who uses the product.

The product can be a combination of physical things and other impacts, and so the customer pays for all of the products, meaning the salary of the employees, the physical output, and anything else that the company produces as part of its purpose. For a company to thrive, they depend on customers and the demands of the market for success, and if there is no one paying for the product, then they will fail. For a company to "care" about an issue or change their action, they need to change the products to focus on that sort of thing. This can create some things that are beneficial for the company as well like water bottle companies using less plastic (and being able to advertise their eco-friendliness) on their bottles or  like a lot of new Impossible Burger type foods that seem to have good environmental impact because they don't use meat. However, sometimes, a company takes its resources away from a different kind of output in order to create that impact, and then the impact becomes part of their product.

No matter what their product is, they still depend on the customer to supply the needs of the company. For changes like the ones you described to happen, the company has to decide that they will change the way that they function, and this changes their potential customers, changes the product they make (and therefore the cost and demand for their products) and how the employees make that product (possibly costing additional resources), and it will change who uses their product. The company must feel enough demand for those changes (meaning the customer is changing) or be willing to pay for those changes themselves, which in some cases (like with China) is a lot of potential for profit that needs to be considered.

I hope this helps you get started. It's a pretty complicated thing, so feel free to reach out to any of us to talk specifics.

-Spooklings

A:

Dear Stand,

This is a hard one because it really depends on the company and how big your platform is. But I think to have a good shot at companies listening to you, you need: press, large support, and facts. If you can get a news outlet to pick up the story, then it is more likely that other news outlets will pick it up too. The company will see your problem as more than just a couple, individual bad reviews. 

Anathema already said this, but realistically a company isn’t gonna change because of one person. If you start talking about this issue publically on social media, write a letter to the editor, or start some sort of online petition, you’ll inform more people about the issue and now the company has thousands of angry customers. 

As someone who has worked in customer service, I’ve had a lot of people yell at me for various problems. When I would bring these problems to my boss, if the customer was really upset and emotional, it often wasn’t clear what they wanted so we just try our best to make them happy, offering a discount so they’d stop calling us. But if customers had facts and evidence, it was clear what was wrong and legitimized their problem so we actually took it seriously. 

Best of luck!

Fozzie