August 7, 2012
The other day I was on the phone with my mom and she was going on and on about the problems she is having with her new mattress. She told me how she and my dad had picked out a great mattress from one of those home shopping channels, we’ll call it CVQ for now, but when it was delivered she noticed the mattress had two defective box springs. Right away, my mother picked up the phone and called CVQ to talk to customer service, but they told her she would have to call the mattress company, then the mattress company told her she would have to call the delivery company. Long story short, my mom was given the ol’ run around and nothing was getting accomplished. After telling me all this, I recommended that she post her complaint on CVQ’s Facebook wall. I explained that posting something for their 1 million fans to see might help you get the kind of customer service that they pride themselves on. We, as consumers want our needs (and complaints) heard and social media acts as our megaphone. No more having to call and wait on the phone, or take the time to write a complaint letter. Things have changed. The ball is in the consumer’s court.
I guess the most expected question to this new form of complaining would be, does it work? Does it create change? Does reading your post compel the brand to follow up and do whatever it takes to turn you into a happy, loyal customer? Well in my parent’s case, yes CVQ delivered her new mattress within the week – hassle free. And as a manager of social communities I have experienced this new voice-of-the-consumer revolution first hand and I would say yes, using social media as a vehicle for the consumer to get the attention of the brand does work. When a complaint or unsatisfactory review is posted on one of my brand’s pages, I take action, immediately. I call the brand and let them know what was said and they tell me how to address it, which is usually by first, giving our most sincere apologies and then offering them some sort of deal or offer to bring them back to the brand.
Back in April of this year, a survey was done where 2,000 UK resident were polled about their use of social media. The results showed that 65 percent of these people believed social media was a better way to communicate with companies. In other words, social media has finally allowed for 2-way communication between consumer and brand or company. I myself experienced this sense of empowerment just the other day. I had unsuccessfully tried to return a pair of shoes that did not fit and after feeling unsatisfied that I would have to keep a pair of shoes that I would never wear and couldn’t do anything about it, I turned to social media. I went on to this shoe brand’s page and posted my issue. Within the hour I had been contacted with an address of where to send the shoes and the receipt and a promise that the money spent on the shoes would be back in my bank account within three days. Mission accomplished: shoes returned, money back and smile on my face. Thanks Facebook.
A fellow consumer, Peter Davis agrees that Twitter and Facebook are a great tool for means of venting our issues with brands and services. Mr. Davis complained on Twitter after he bought a computer online only for a microwave to be delivered to his Brighton home.
“This was preferable to calling their customer services line and being put on hold for inordinate length of time listening to pulsating dance music,” he says.
As you can see this idea of VIP treatment is spreading and I can’t speak for all brands, but for myself, my parents, Mr. Davis, and all the brands I represent, social media can bring a brand and it’s consumer much closer.
- Katie Cohen, Junior Copywriter