In the age of social media we have a valuable tool that can be used to raise awareness, advocate (for ones self, a cause or a group) and make an impact. In times past if someone was mistreated or felt slighted they could write a letter to the editor, call a manager or, if things were very serious, call a local news station. These are all options that we have today alongside using the Internet to our advantage. Now you can send a message to twitter with a hashtag making the item easier to search for (#UnitedWay, for example), recently I had an instance where I felt frustrated at the United Way for repeated misreferrals, I tweeted about this in anger and was contacted directly by a member of their customer service team. I’ve had a similar experience with Comcast.
With a few keystrokes you can send your message to thousands of people, and maybe even people that can do something about your issues. The United Way rep gave me the contacts for all the local people I needed to resolve my problem. Comcast worked with me to verify my situation with them would not be a recurring issue. Companies are paying closer attention to social media as a medium to work on their customer service.
I’m hoping that utilizing the Internet will assist a friend of mine who recently had a very bad experience at a local restaurant (you can read about it in the link I’ll be putting below). In a nutshell her uncle drove his modified van to the establishment for a birthday party and a person parked in the lined off area beside the spot, the van’s ramp couldn’t come down and it was difficult for family members to use the hand controls to move the vehicle. When the guests contacted the greeting staff and manager they were told the same thing: “there’s nothing we can do about this.” I was shocked when I read this on the website that my friend’s husband made for this horrible experience, and then I was very pleased that such a simple and elegant thing was going to spread the message of this establishment failing to take care of its patrons. Friends and family members sprang to actions post on Facebook and Twitter so that other potential customers would be forewarned about how they could be treated at this establishment. Hopefully this will lead to some education for managers and staff on their responsibilities for ensuring that all patrons are treated with equal respect.
Advocacy has always been a powerful tool for enacting change and making sure our voices are heard. Nowadays not only are we heard, but we are potentially heard by many more people (almost instantly) than was ever possible in the past. Have you had any experiences with customer service through social media?
Read about my friend’s experience here: http://www.dlh.rs/RedLobsterFAIL.html
How would you have handled a similar situation?