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I think the truth here is that any public outcry requires serious backpedaling from companies or organizations. Social media has been useful because even though people can automate social media responses, the customer response has an opportunity to go viral, which can cost big $$$. (Ie. The airline luggage service guitar song, The BP Oil Spill, etc.) Social Media is just so much better because it creates groups of publicly unhappy people. Call centres isolate problems, which can be downplayed.

@Sean -- agreed. However, when I call your 800-number to tell you I don't want your new cards, the old ones where just fine, and you spend the whole time trying to upsell me and put all kinds of obstacles in my way, your risk is I'm gonna tell all my friends what a horrible service I didn't get. And, by the way, I called to fix something I did not want that your bank forced me to fix. Want fair? Start treating customers with respect for their time.

@Jennifer -- the difficulty with franchises is that you are barking up the wrong tree. Yes, it is their brand nationally. However, the person who needs to fix it is the owner of the one store where you had the issue. Was the ruckus worth your time and energy? If the business is run poorly, it may end up out of business. The other side of the coin is the noise dozens of voices create in their own social channels, the mechanics of crying wolf, etc. I look at having a voice as a privilege.

@Scott -- repeated sales, which is the backbone of commerce, comes from turning many one time transactions into repeat business. The opportunity of social for commerce is indeed to create customers, some of whom will create other customers. It all starts with the business being wiling to serve those customers fairly.

@Jen -- thank you for sharing the link to your story. When companies are fair, they end up impressing us, no matter the channel. And yes, we end up talking about it with others who are looking for a referral.

@Chris -- a company that behaves well only in public, as an individual, certainly sends a specific kind of message.

@Kasey -- I used it as an example of not getting anywhere on regular channels and getting a prompt response in social. And I had a caveat in the post as well... the phone is actually pretty convenient, if you think about it, and could take no time at all if they didn't route it halfway across the world, put you on hold, or tried to upsell you. My point is often people take to public channels when they have been unable to resolve their issue through normal channels.


It's not that "DM me your info" is a bad tactic, it's the fact that most companies don't have good customer service in general. Regardless of the outlet, poor service is poor service. Has nothing to do with traditional vs. social.

Likewise, I have to disagree that "DM me you info" sets a bad example. More people are spending more time online. That's a fact. More people are finally realizing they have a venue to complain. That doesn't mean companies need to bend over backwards. It just means that we need to give customers more convenience and meet them at their preferred means of communication.

There have been a number of times where a customer has publicly complained about my organization. I acknowledge their frustration and attempt to resolve. Some I can, others I can't. And those who are habitual complainers are easy to spot.

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