If you complain by phone or by email, how many people know about it? No one. Just you and the person at the end of the phone or opening the email. When you complain using social media, it is as though you are standing on the top of a tower block shouting your complaint to see if anybody cares.

Companies should care what the world thinks of them. If you put negative things out there on the web, other people will read them.

If the company responds publicly and fixes your problem then not only does it make one happy customer, it shows the rest of the world that they are a good company to do business with.

People share good stuff. If someone gets wowed by the great service from an organisation, they might just share the experience.

Put yourself in the shoes of an organisation and think about this situation. You have two customer service issues that you need to fix. The trouble is you only have time to fix one. The first issue was emailed to you from a random Gmail account. The second was a tweet sent to you by somebody with 1000 followers on twitter.

Scenario 1

You should answer the email first as this landed on your desk first. You could answer this, keep the email customer happy and feel like you have served them well. If you did a good job they might tell a couple of friends. You ignored the tweet though. This person publicly told 1000 people that they have a problem with your company (plus as many followers as you have on your company account). You in reply, have told their 1000 followers and any one of your followers, that you don’t care about their problem. The person who sent the original tweet will probably make the next tweet mentioning your company slightly more negative. The first one might be:

“company x can you help me fix my widget”

The next one will be more like

“company x are terrible at looking after their customers”

By ignoring the tweet you have helped one person who might tell a handful of people how great you are. You have ignored one person who has potentially told a few thousand people why they shouldn’t be doing business with you.

Scenario 2

You decide to answer the tweet instead. You go through the same process of finding the solution to the problem and sending them a tweet back with the solution. You turn a problem into delighted customer. This customer decides to send another tweet out saying

“great customer service from company x they fixed my widget in no time at all”

You now have a customer who has told 1000 people how great you are, plus anyone who follows you on twitter. Those people might decide to share that tweet which could easily double the reach of the good PR around your company.

You didn’t answer the email though. That customer isn’t happy and tells a couple of people down the pub that night.


Although you should not ignore either of the two service requests, you can see why you should not ignore the social channels. If your company has no processes or resources in place to deal with social customer service, then you could be repeating scenario 1 every day. If this scenario was to happen every day for a year, imagine how many people would think bad things about your company. It might tip the balance to encourage your current, non-loyal, customer to shop around and it would do a good job of putting off any one considering buying from your company.

What do you have in place to deal with social customer service? Have you learnt from any positive or negative experience through dealing with customer service through social channels?

Other posts you might like:

How to enter a sales meeting as the underdog

10 tips for sucess on LinkedIn in 2012

Why should a CIO use Twitter?

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