Have you ever used a social networking site to voice a concern about a service experience with a business?

This was the question on a recent survey I conducted. With more and more businesses using Twitter and Facebook, many are overcoming the fear of being on the receiving end of customer service complaints and concerns. Of course, not all of them quite yet understand what the word viral means, which is reflected in their non sense of urgency to respond or to even care that people are lighting up places like Twitter with their frustrations. But, those that do get it, have a golden opportunity to turn negatives into positives as all eyes are them on both how they respond as well as what they do.

Of course, it is always wise to under promise and over deliver. Starting with a simple acknowledgement will go a long ways, just as long as there is adequate follow through.

As someone myself who previously ran a chain of stores based in the Northwest, I always looked forward to the opportunity to respond to a complaint. I know that sadly many never take the time to voice their complaint. Instead, they simply stop shopping and tell all of their friends. So, when one takes the time to opine, don’t miss the opportunity. In doing so, you might just save a customer and in the end, gain a friend.

That being said, in this transition into a world of consumers taking to social media as an effective means to voice their concerns, businesses are finally utilizing the power of social media to respond to them. They have too. People are tired of sitting on hold to speak to someone. With social media, it is the best of both worlds for the consumer as they can both voice their concerns with the business at the same time as telling all of their friends and there lies the sense of urgency.

That being said, businesses also need to be mindful in this transition that while they may be great at answering the tweets, they need to also ensure consistency for those who are still seeking to do the same thing via the phone.

I recently spent 2 hours on the phone speaking with no less than 9 people to get some basic questions answered from a larger corporation. Frustrated, I took to Twitter instead. Five minutes later, I got a response.

So, have you ever used social media to voice a concern with a business? Let’s see what the people who took this survey said…

41.3 % of those who took the survey actually have taken to social media to voice a concern.

Here is a sample of the responses they received:

  • People heard.
  • Did it twice, and in one case it got me results.
  • I have gotten mixed opinions that have helped me have a better understand issue
  • no response, but I felt better. lol 🙂
  • Nothing that I know of.
  • Not directly with the service – but by posting in general. Found others who experienced the same thing.
  • Support from friends was all.
  • they responded but usually after the issue was resolved.
  • Nothing.
  • Delta Airlines. No reply.
  • nothing that I noticed, everything was status quo although I quit giving my business to that business.
  • Heard from the company the next day.
  • The info was out for others to see
  • quick response to say they would pay attention…but then nothing.
  • nothing really – I am not sure they even saw it. LOL
  • I was on my honeymoon so I never wound up getting a resolution and by the time I got home, I didn’t care anymore.
  • No resolution.
  • No response
  • I haven’t had any results.
  • received apology and my opinion seemed appreciated
  • nothing – it didn’t go “viral”
  • Very positive results. Issue resolved.
  • Immediate response after I sent a negative response from a company
  • I felt better, but in the end nothing.
  • It was a problem with cable, the wife of one of the cable company’s workers, told him about our problem he came to fix it just to keep his company out of trouble.
  • the company responded to me and resolve the issue
  • ATT mobile service
  • Strangely enough the called us and we got the issue fixed
  • Issue resolved
  • No result, although I have heard of other people getting results
  • People would agree, and say they would never go there, etc..
  • Sometimes the company responds and/or redresses the issue. Sometimes not
  • Comcast tweeted me immediately and addressed my concern.
  • Yes, with the Westin. They never corrected my issue but always deleted the negative commentsI left.
  • Sears returned my call in 10 minutes.
While many business have taken to Twitter, many have not taken to using it well. In my rule book, I like to go 80% of my messages being relational with 20% being informational. However, as a business, they need to be acutely aware of what people are saying about them and then to respond immediately. Otherwise, why bother? People are sick of waiting on hold to talk to an automated voice to get answers. People want to be treated like… people and that they matter… right now.
  • In this day and age and with this economy, there is no excuse for poor customer service and lack of follow through. If you don’t get that right, then you can’t blame the economy on your failed business, you can only blame yourself.

With that being said, I do want to give kudos to Sears, State Farm, and believe it or not… Bank of America for their speedy responses via Twitter. Did they solve my issues, not always, but it sure did feel good being acknowledged by someone… anyone. Have you experienced a business that is great at responding to you via social media?

Here’s a little poorly animated video I created for my employees to… in a goofy way make the point that customers will always tell their friends. (Hey I never claimed to be a professional animator! Hahaha)