Why Social Contracts like the “Company Customer Pact” are slow to adopt

I’ve been a supporter of the Company Customer Pact, which is a set of guidelines put forth by Get Satisfaction and friends on how both individual customers as well as brands should behave in this ‘social contract’. Since it’s launch (I believe Feb 08) there’s only been 250 people that have signed and put their name on the wiki. Given the sheer number of bloggers out there, or companies, either awareness has been low, or there are some reasons why individuals don’t want to participate. For example, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea, as for one, Peter Dawson explains:

From Peter Dawson:

“The Customer Company pact, is a BAD IDEA, The problems is that Companies will not adopt it as part of a strategy. Individuals will, just like the Clue Train Manifesto. How many of the f500’s are really on the clue train and adopted these principles ? The same will hold true to the CC PACT. If a bunch of Bloggers ‘like’ an Idea ( aka CC pact) and endorse it (yes the more the merrier), it does not imply (a) that they will always follow it and (b) the company that they work for will adopt them as standards.

The most crucial aspect is in Corporate /Company Ethical and Governance Missions statements. These polices must be aligned to laws and statutes. Therefore a PACT between a Customer and a Company should and ALWAYS be put under the jurisdiction of the law. Yet how many bloggers (Customers) like being under the hammer ?? The Value prop is great in Theory , but near impossible to implement.”

Peter’s right, it’s not a legal document, nor should it ever be, but instead a ‘social contract’ that would encourage best-behaviors from customers and brands. What’s in it for individual bloggers? Sure every blogger has the right to rant and complain, but doing it in way that would be condusive for companies to respond to –and actually make a difference to change their product is helpful. Now, for a blogger that simply wants to vent their frustrations out on the web (without caring if they get resolution from the brand) then Peter is right, none of this will matter.

So in summary, the Customer Company pact is a best practice “Social Contract” or perhaps even a “Guideline” that would encourage communications to improve customer and company relations for better products and services. For those that don’t want to see products or services improved via online communications –this pact won’t serve your needs.

I for one, am for it, and have it taped up on my desk at work, I keep this in mind as I talk to both the brands, as well as bloggers, and how I choose to engage with companies when I want changes fixed for product and services.

Love to hear from you, do social contracts like the Customer Company Pact have a place in the world? Or should it be more of a laissez-faire approach and let them market sort it out?