We all know the frustration you feel when you’ve been badly treated by a company. Not only should you complain – you also really need to vent your anger. But what’s the best way to make your views heard?
Perhaps you’ve stayed in all day to wait for a repairman but no one’s turned up? Or your online shopping has arrived but it’s not what you ordered? You’re going to want to complain, but is a letter or phone call still the best way to do it? The rise of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is shaking up the way most of us complain…
Complaining on social media
It used to be said that for every bad experience, a disgruntled customer would tell 10 friends. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, that can be tens of thousands of people.
You’ve probably heard the story of businessman Hasan Syed, who hit the headlines last month. He became so fed up with the way British Airways handled the problem of his father’s lost luggage that he paid for a promoted tweet criticising the airline’s customer service.
And earlier this year, Facebook user Jim Boyden posted a photograph of a Virgin Media bill for his late father in-law; which acknowledged he had passed away before including a fine for late payment. The post was shared more than 90,000 times.
Unsurprisingly, both men got pretty swift apologies – and probably a fair bit of satisfaction at sharing their bad experiences with others. Real David and Goliath stuff.
So, I want to know – does social media really get the best results for customer service? And how much does it depend on what you are trying to achieve?
Taking your complaint to Twitter
If you want to embarrass the company or seek revenge for bad treatment, then social media is a good bet. Firms spend a huge amount of money on their image so complaining publicly really can hit them where it hurts.
And of course, firing off a tweet is much quicker than trekking to the post box. It’s also much speedier than spending your lunch hour in an automated telephone queue. Not to mention the fact it’s free.
It’s something our Which? Conversation team talked about on Twitter last week, while they were watching BBC Watchdog. On the BBC1 show, Richard E Grant shared how he tweeted directly at Mini to raise the profile of a fault his daughter’s car had had. Our Twitter followers responded with lots of their own examples, including Lindsey and Rebecca:
— Rebecca Claxton (@RebeccaClaxton) September 25, 2013
Bhavesh always takes his complaints to Twitter:
— Bhavesh Suthar (@BhaveshHSuthar) September 25, 2013
I’m keen to know your experiences of the different ways of complaining. Do you only resort to social media when more traditional methods don’t work? Or are Twitter and Facebook your first ports of call? What big successes have you achieved using social media?