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Social Media and the Complaint

I recently read a blog entitled “Financial Institutions: 5 Ways to Use Social Media” by Kristin, on BackUpIfy.com. In it she reviews ways to capitalize on social media to benefit an institution and make the business more appealing to customers. The article offers five categories – Networking, Listen, Customer Support, and Public Relations. Kristin’s points are valid but I was surprised with one section of the article.

Listening is listed as the single most important way to improve your marketing and product offering. Agreed. Each year, companies spend thousands of dollars to gather market research either through customer surveys, focus groups, or secondary research, so that their products or services closely address the market needs.

Social media is an excellent way of gathering customer comments. The author goes on to urge companies not only to listen (in the case of complaints) but also to actively communicate with the complaining customer in order to resolve the issue. Here again, I agree. There are ways and means to take hold of a poor situation and make it right. I have, on several occasions, had a complaint which was handled by a very well trained customer service agent so that I quickly became again their loyal customer.

While it is possible to resolve customer satisfaction issues by social media, I urge caution on two points:

1.  If the business is run properly and if the customer’s need was handled appropriately at time of service, the customer should never be driven to the point of public complaint on a social media. It is inherently wrong for companies to allow customers to leave with concerns or issues that are not handled adequately. If that becomes the case, one might suggest that there are other problems lurking beneath the surface that should be tended.

2.  Social media is several steps away from human contact and one should not assume that the final effect would be the same.

Write in and tell us if you’ve ever had a complaint handled appropriately on a social media. Likewise, if you’ve had a complaint in a bank or a store that was handled well, let us know what it was that made you a happy customer!

(c) Alder & Associates - Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations

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