Savvy social media users are taking to Twitter and Facebook and shunning long call centre waiting times to get ‘VIP’ treatment in sorting out their problems.
Big brands such as BT, Aviva, Virgin Media and ASOS all have Twitter accounts dedicated to sorting out customer complaints.
And cunning customers know that by tweeting complaining about a company, or even ranting on its Facebook page they will secure an almost immediate response from firm’s desperate to nip bad publicity in the bud.
Social media power: Consumers are turning to more powerful forms of complaint by airing their views on Twitter and Facebook.
Companies are concerned about damaging their ‘digital reputation’ and are keen to sort customers problems quickly.
And more and more of us are getting the message that naming and shaming is a quick route to success. Some 65 per cent of consumers now believe that social media is a better way to communicate with companies than through call centres, according to the study by public relations agency Fishburn Hedges and Echo Research.
Its survey of 2,000 people found that more than a third of consumers have already interacted with companies through social media.
And 40 per cent of those surveyed believed that social media has improved customer service.
Eva Keogan, head of innovation at Fishburn Hedges, said: ‘Many people are currently enjoying the VIP treatment from brands on social media. As millions more catch on to this great route into traditional customer service channels, the challenge for brands will be maintaining the same level of service.’
Online customers are also often privy to exclusive offers – while sometimes a tactic to get some to spend more – there are often real discounts and opportunities to save money.
This is Money explored customers fighting back online in November 2009 when we highlighted how some consumers had been uploading videos to YouTube or writing blogs voicing their annoyance at the service from a particular brands.
Of course, we have also been no stranger to our readers using This is Money to fight back and know that not only do companies respond swiftly when we take on someone’s case, but also regularly monitor our reader comments and forums to spot people’s problems.