In a blog post I wrote yesterday, I mentioned that I’ve been a lot more active on social media. I’m talking about Twitter, something I finally got the hang of.
I want to talk about complaining on social media, namely via Twitter and Facebook. There are two types of complaints that I will talk about: 1. complaints directed at a product or service, and 2. complaints directed at individual people.
I’ll talk about #1 first. I actually did some quick Googling, hoping to find some articles on #2, but ended up with results on #1. Now, when people talk about products via social media status updates, they do not necessarily complain. They may also say positive things about such a product. But that’s a boring topic. How about when people complain, or say negative things about a product?
These days, you will see many job postings or volunteer positions for Social Media Representative (or similar) because it’s a very essential aspect for a company’s marketing and customer service base. The issue with this (in a company’s POV), is that customers can see each others’ complaints, and use that as a strong basis of judgement of whether to buy the company’s products/services. So naturally, you need an employee to reply to each customer and keep up the rep that the company has. Or else… your sales will be greatly affected. More on this here: http://www.finextra.com/community/fullblog.aspx?blogid=5863
I’ve also heard stories of employees being fired based on 1-star Yelp reviews. Yelp is a big deal in some big cities for the retail and food industry. In the customers’ point of view, having this trump card of complaining on social media is handy. It allows you to get instant feedback since companies will likely put priority on what the public views them as. It also encourages you to share your opinion for everyone to know. Not everyone out there wants to put the effort into writing a well-formed complaint to a company, and have the possibility of it being ignored, even if they had a bad experience with the product or service. Social media has allowed us to do it with ease and higher assurance that you will get a response.
Due to these reasons, I have also taken advantage of complaining via social media. I have gotten really good responses from doing so, too.
About a year ago, a friend of mine and I wanted to order a couple things from HauteLook, but this was during the Canada Post strike. As such, the company mentioned that they were going to use some other delivery service to ship it. So it turns out that the delivery person just left the package on the front door (since no one was home), and did not bother giving any sort of notification to tell us that he just left it there. Depending on the service, the delivery person should have either took the package and came back the next day, or updated the shipment status of the package in some way to notify us. Shipping takes a LONG time when dealing with Canada, so it’s really hard to predict when things are going to arrive if you don’t even update the shipment status.
What happened after that? Well it seems that one of the neighbours took the package. So we were screwed. $120 down the drain. I contacted customer service via their website (which leads to back and forth emails), and they claimed that they will help me track it down. I gave them my thanks and everything, but they did not reply back again. After that, I got too busy with school to take care of the matter. Eventually, after a few months, I posted on their Facebook page about their predicament. Lo and behold, they responded in 1-2 days, saying that they couldn’t find the package, and refunded me the full amount. Hurray.
Moral of the story: If the product or service you purchased disappointed you, then do your best to get your money’s worth. Customers have a bigger voice now. Take advantage of that instead of being ignorant and negative by complaining to your friends about it (nothing they can do about it except comfort you).
Second moral of the story: Avoid ordering from US-based online stores if you live in Canada.
So is all of this good in a company’s point of view? Activating a Facebook page or Twitter page, you will definitely have to face some consequences, but do the positives outweigh the negatives? I feel that as long as you deal with negative feedback in a smart manner, then you’re well off. It’s really not possible to put on a “I’m perfect” face (I mean.. it is somewhat possible by deleting negative comments from your page’s wall, but that’s just cheating). As a whole, social media has made customer service a bigger priority for many companies out there. Whether that’s an issue to your company depends on the goals of your company, so you can be the decision maker.
Now onto #2. I am not sure if you can call it a trend, I guess it’s more of a trend for the younger folks. To sum it up, on a personal Twitter or Facebook page, people will complain about their lives from time to time. Now complaining is fine. In a first world country, it is common to complain about everyday life. Some examples are complaints about long work hours, stress for final exams, demanding parents, etc. But lately.. I feel as if people just want to start drama on Twitter within their group of friends or maybe even their family. It’s irritating and disappointing to see.
I think there are filters to what you should be saying on social media, just like there is a filter to what you say to people in real life. I think it’s okay to complain and conclude things about a certain type of person, i.e. ignorant people, drama queens, people that litter, whatever it may be.
Some years ago, complaining on the internet seemed like a way to anonymously relieve negative thoughts. But you can’t really be anonymous anymore if you post it on a large social media platform. Sure, you might have someone blocked or restricted so that they cannot see the post, but let me tell you something. Word travels. People talk. So yes, in the end, you do get screwed over for it. So stop starting drama and face the reality. YES, people make mistakes. YES, people may do bothersome things. So why not confront them about it instead of complaining to the world about it? It’s especially irritating when people make tweets or status updates that are obviously directed at one single person. It’s cyber bullying even if you don’t mention their name. I know Twitter is all about speaking your mind every few hours, but please stop and think before you do so. Don’t be so immature.
Just had to get that off my back. : )