There was a time when a harshly-worded letter was the only way to have your complaint heard by a company. Now, if you want to complain, do it in social networks!
Social Media channels are enabling companies to engage in a much warmer relationship with their customers. But at the same time, it has become the best channel for customers to get complaints resolved quickly and in real time.
A bad review or negative comment can be retweeted by millions (by the way, here is 7 tips for for getting good customer support via Twitter), and companies are often keen to defuse customer anger very quickly in a public space. If it is resolved in a clever way, it might even work in favor for the company.
I have personally once complained in Facebook (privately) about a bad experience I had in a public hospital emergency room. I had severe stomach pains and the private doctor I went to see told me that I would need to get serious examination at a proper large hospital that had all the equipments. So there I was, lying on a bed in the public hospital emergency room. During 8 hours (!!) I was there, a doctor came to chat with me once. No medicine. No proper check-up. The nurses told me that "there are more severe cases in the emergency room" and since I was not literally dying per se, I was in the queue to be treated.
Just when I was about to storm out of the emergency room with annoyance, the nurse told me to sign a form so that they would be wavered from any law suit in case something seriously happens after I discharge myself on my own!
When I got home with a taxi, I was so furious (and of course still in pain), I wrote about my experience in my Facebook post. A few minutes later, a friend who happens to be a doctor at this particular public hospital called me (obviously he had read my post!), asked me what are the symptoms and made a phone prescription for me for medicine to be picked up from the pharmacy. He told me his opinion on what the diagnosis could be, and if the medicine does not help, I should go back to emergency and refer to his name.
Well, the medicine did help. Thank you Ville. You kow who you are.
I would guess that everyone using any social media channels know by now the power of customer complaints. If you don't react quickly, it will spread, causing damage to your reputation and brand.
The challenge is, how to keep up with all the discussions in social media channels, and manage your brand reputation? How can you dig out, from huge amount of data, those that are relevant to you, to which you should be reacting to? Let me dig into this in my next post!