Why Smart Companies React Quickly Online

by Kevin on February 4, 2011

I’ve been writing a lot about poor customer service and strategies to get better service. (See 3 Tips to Using Social Media to Get Customer Satisfaction and Skip the Phone Tree; Use Executive Customer Service for Results.)

In both articles I made mention to using Twitter to get the attention of companies that have provided poor service to me. Both times it worked. (Seriously, go read the articles. Will. Save. You. Money.)

But I know there are skeptics out there… that it simply can’t work. That I must be a unique example and not everyone can get a company’s attention online.

I call your bluff and thought it might be beneficial to explain why you, the little solo consumer, can get the attention of a Fortune 500 company.

Why Companies React to Social Media

Here’s three reasons companies will react to you:

The Speed of Information

Just in case you haven’t noticed… information moves incredibly fast these days. The current revolution in Egypt started on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Hundreds of thousands of people react as fast as they can type on their computers and mobile phones.

That speed can be used for good. A company announces a new product launch and the information spreads like lightning. As with anything else that same speed can also work against companies.

Company Reputations Can Be Damaged Fast

All it takes is one piece of misinformation or out right lying to spread like wildfire to damage a company’s good name. (Sadly, yes, people do lie about their experiences with companies just to get what they want.) Depending on the size of the company the bad information can cause enough serious doubts that a large percentage of the customer base considers leaving.

As you can imagine that makes the suits at the executive table a bit nervous. So they do what they can to counteract any bad information or mad customers online.

Dedicated Social Media Teams Fight Bad PR

How much do companies care about information online?

Let’s take a look at some of the Twitter profiles of some major companies:

Names you’ve heard of, perhaps?

Major companies are tackling Twitter head on with dedicated social media teams. In some cases it is one person who is more a traffic controller — they point you to the solution or person that can solve your issue. In other cases the person looking at your message is the right one to handle everything.

Either way there is an investment by these companies into protecting their brands online.

So what?

Use PR Paranoia to Your Benefit

It sounds almost unfair. I’m absolutely not advocating you abuse these powers, but you really can get a Fortune 500 company’s attention with Twitter and Facebook.

This puts the power and leverage that customers used to have and puts it right back in their corner. No more having to sit in the phone tree waiting 10, make that 15, make that 20 “your call is important to us” minutes. No more “I’m sorry sir, that should have been explained to you.”

None of that. You’ve got the leverage, now go get your satisfaction (and dollars) back!

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