In a previous post on this topic, I related how I experienced dissatisfaction with a company’s services and how I sought satisfaction from the company in question by making my complaint online via Twitter. Had a made my complaint by more conventional means, say by telephone, I’m sure it would have been much less successful. “Yes sir, we’re very sorry but there’s not much more we can do…” Most are familiar with being fobbed off by less than sympathetic sales staff, getting nowhere and ending up feeling frustrated and angry. Complaining via social media is much more effective; you have a potential audience of millions and the whole thing ends up being a PR exercise which may be mutually beneficial. If you are involved with an online complaint, there are a few things to be aware of that might help.
1. Be aware the the company you are complaining to will try to ‘manage’ your complaint in such a way that what you say causes them as little negative publicity as possible. Before allowing them to manage you, take the initiative and manage them. Software designed to help companies manage Twitter complaints like Zendesk attempt to do the following:
Rather than allow your complaint to be switched to private email, continue to respond to any correspondence via Twitter. Continued negative publicity will ensure that your ‘ticket’ will not be closed until you receive satisfaction. If you are told that nothing can be done, continue to direct tweets at them; you’ll be surprised at what can be done when bad PR is at stake.
2. Be aware that the company dealing with your complaint will quickly classify you as one of several generic types of complainers. The following list is a quote from this ezine article: Types of Complaining Customers
A recent Harris Poll found nearly 2/3 of its US-based sample use social media. Out of all respondents, 26% use social media to complain about a brand or product and another 23% use social media to talk about a brand or product they like – 34% total had used social media to express satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a product or company. Nearly half (45%) said they were influenced by testimonials on social media by people they know – approximately the same number that say they are influenced by newspaper or magazine articles (46%).
Too few it seems use twitter to complain. Don’t be afraid to speak up; an increasing number of businesses actually WANT you to complain via social media. Not only is this a much more effective method in terms of time, labour and record keeping, it can be a positive public relations and publicity exercise. Complaining via Twitter can be a very successful means of dealing with a problem and would seem a much more effective use of the medium than broadcasting what you’re having for breakfast.