Social Media Turns into a Customer Complaint Box
As more consumers get access to the worldwide web and companies scurry to engage them, it has become imperative that customer service through social media platforms be handled well and handled ‘now’. For consumers, this is a welcome development because not only do private firms, but also those in the public sector pay more attention to complaints on public platforms. They actually resolve issues more quickly than complaints through traditional redressal avenues.
“I bought a top-end HTC mobile from a multi-brand outlet in Chennai. It had a warranty and insurance. But barely a month later, the screen stopped working and I could not get it repaired for free at the service centre. I used social media to register my complaint,” said Raghavendar Ravi, from Kolapakkam. Ravi actually went the whole hog — he tweeted to the outlet and the manufacturer, posted on their facebook walls and even registered his anguish on internet forums. It worked. The retailer actually replaced the `40,000-plus mobile.
Ravi’s case was nearly two years ago. The speed with which firms, especially consumer firms, resolve complaints on social media has only increased. Almost all top consumer brands and companies have dedicated teams working to engage people on social media.
Ola, Uber, SpiceJet, IndiGo, Flipkart, SnapDeal etc, to name a few, have large teams working 24x7 on social media. Flipkart, for example, has a Twitter handle for customer service alone and every tweet is responded to and followed up. The aviation and e-commerce industries in particular have begun using social media to show the world they are consumer friendly.
“These firms have realised that social media is a powerful tool,” explained Anoop Mishra, social media marketing expert. “If they engage well with customers on social media, especially when they have a grievance, the firms get noticed in a very positive light. When they don’t, it’s the opposite. Companies cannot afford to be seen as ‘not consumer friendly’ on social media anymore,” Mishra asserts.
Ashwin C, another social media consultant who worked with one of the top online cab aggregators until recently, concurred and added, “When I started working there two years ago, we were told unequivocally that every consumer post on social media had to be noted, a response sent and followed up without fail. The consensus at the top was that social media popularity was indispensable. This is now a philosophy that is permeating every consumer-oriented firm.”
The tendency of customers to take to social media to register their complaints and failure to address them has pushed even public sector establishments like the Railways to take note. And less than a month ago, the Telecom Ministry issued notices to state-owned BSNL, MTNL and India Posts after Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took note of citizen complaints about service quality on his Facebook page.
“This is good because registering a complaint on Twitter or Facebook is convenient. I do that for all of my grievances now and most get responses. Some even get resolved fairly quickly,” said Tamil Selvi Ramkumar.