Social Media: Is It Really Our “Right” To Immediately Complain?

Social Media: Is It Really Our "Right" To Immediately Complain?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least sixty-seven times (I don’t think I can come close to claiming 1,000 or 1,000,000) … I have a reputation for the rant.

I admit it, I don’t try to hide it. I’m up front and open about the fact that my writing style often employs language and tone that comes across as a rant.

That being said, you might have noted that my rants don’t call out actual individuals or companies. In fact, they don’t name any names at all.

Instead, I call out actions, rant about decisions and idiotic ideas, and try to create discussion around various topics, rather than various people or brands.

You might be shocked to know that I rarely tweet or post Facebook messages when a product or service lets me down.

Private vs. Public

Everything I’ve ever been taught about business and effectively handling conflicts says you absolutely DO NOT spout off in public. You take the time to step back and discuss negative issues in private, while you share any good news with the group.

I consider most social media discussions, if they’re not undertaken within private messages, to be public conversations. I prefer, whenever possible, to discuss outages, failure to deliver and other less than stellar customer service actions or customer experience woes in private. Generally by email or chat. I’m not a fan of the phone.

Why Private?

Why not just let my rant rip across social media channels?

Call me crazy, but I don’t think even big brands deserve to be bombarded with negative press, delivered across social channels, until I’ve got the complete picture.

Was the outage or disruption caused by a hacker’s attack? If so, the brand is already under enough pressure trying to find and deliver the correct fix. Do they really need to waste resources addressing the tweets of overly pissy peeps?

When it comes to digital services, from website hosting to mention monitoring and social scheduling, we have to consider hacks, especially the dreaded DDoS attacks. Should your site ever undergo that kind of attack, don’t you hope your clients understand and don’t immediately blast you via Twitter, Google+ or Facebook?

Service With A Smile?

I applaud companies like A2 Hosting and Buffer for keeping their clients well informed when they suffer attacks that take down their system and stymie the services we’ve all come to rely upon to run our digital businesses.

I do not applaud the companies that ignore the disruptions and don’t keep their client base informed about what they’re doing to remedy the situation.

Service with a smile means sometimes you have to smile through the pain of whatever you’re dealing with and provide the proper information to your clients and customers.

Social media makes it very easy to keep us informed. Tweet it. Share the situation on Facebook and Google+. Take a picture of whatever’s broken and share it on Instagram.

If you keep us informed and let us know you’re actively engaged in the fix, we’re less likely to complain.

Take It To Social?

Do I ever take my complaints to a social level? Yes, I have had to do so on occasion.

Why? Generally because the company ignored my attempts to get the situation sorted privately.

At that time, I take to Twitter and try to deliver a message that states the outage is affecting me, and my own clients, and I’d appreciate a heads up as to whether or not a solution is coming any time soon.

Sadly, this tends to FINALLY get me a response.  Even more sadly, it’s generally a too little, too late apology or lame excuse. Something that doesn’t beg much love for the brand, if you know what I mean.

How about you?

How soon do you take complaints social?

2 replies
  1. Cendrine Marrouat
    Cendrine Marrouat says:

    Hello Mallie,

    Great post! You raise a very valid concern here.

    I usually don’t complain about minor issues and, as you said, I try doing a little big of research to get the full picture.

    However, if a company doesn’t respond to major issues, I will not hesitate to make my voice heard on social networks. I have done it many times, especially with BlueHost, which is one of the worst web hosts I have ever worked with.

    Like you, I applaud Buffer. The last time they were hacked, they did a fantastic job handling the situation. But that’s not surprising, they are famous for their transparency.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Thanks Cendrine,

      I had to get away from the “sex posts” after two in row! LOL.

      But in all seriousness, I do fear that the idea of immediate response may actually impede the “best” response. We can’t fix all problems and issues in an instant. A little understanding on both sides of the situation is necessary for the best resolution.

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