A growing number of consumers are posting comments about a product or experience they’ve had with a brand on a blog or Twitter and expecting the company to come right back that same day with a personalized message and solution. I’ve seen isolated incidents where some consumers return to the network within hours and remark that they have fired that brand for being ignored between lunch and dinner.
I’m concerned that the speed of social will cause consumers to think traditional communication channels are obsolete and have been disconnected from the grid. Big brands have spent millions of dollars staffing call centers and maintaining web sites to provide customer service. They won’t be chucking those investments any time soon. Folks… folks… Let’s get real. A single consumer will always be more agile than a large organization on almost everything. Companies have not promised, nor can they right now, monitor hundreds of millions of conversations and respond as part of their service contract.
As a consumer, if you have a problem with a product or service, there is nothing wrong with expressing your perspective using social media technology. I have done so numerous times in this very space. But you need to ask yourself why are you doing it? What’s your objective when you post out? Is it a test to see how quickly they will find you? Are you informing/warning the community about your experience? Unless you are a key influencer with a big following, posting on a blog is a little like shouting out in a crowded stadium. Almost no one will hear you. Certainly not the pitcher who just gave up that home run.
I’ll bet you can find a web address or 800 number on the packaging coupled with an open invitation to call anytime you have a problem or question. So click on www or pick up the phone. After all you spent time and probably money on the product. What if your issue could be remedied with a 1 minute conversation or e-mail response? Isn’t that a better use of time?
Once you have gone through the channels a company has established to help you and still the issue isn’t resolved, then by all means, have at it in the community. The company deserves it. Firms will get better at monitoring the social graph. It’s a completely new concept and the velocity is overwhelming. It will take some more time.