Word of mouth has a whole new meaning with the emergence of social media. It used to be that if someone had something to say about a company they would tell their friends and family. And yes this could spread, especially if it was something bad, but it had an end point. Now days, with social media sites being such a large and influential part of people’s lives, our experiences can be read and reposted by countless people in a fraction of the time. It is for this reason that organizations need to be on top of customer service issues as soon as they arise.
For consumers this is a great thing. Finally a way to have yourself heard and know that what you say will have an impact. People are more inclined to Tweet a complaint as they know the public forum will make the company react faster. It is for this reason that organization need to be actively listening to what is being said on social media sites. Many organizations have their own social media pages that they use actively where consumers can ask and receive help, which a great way to stay in touch with your customers’ needs - Zappos customer service is a great example of this . On the other hand many people choose to forgo the company pages for their own pages therefore it is just as important to monitor the public forums as well. Videos can go viral in no time at all and become public relations nightmares, personal pages as we have just seen with the KFC Incident can be damaging enough to make a company have to offer a public apology and of course Twitter where people post almost anything they think and feel.
When used properly Social Media can place control in the hands of the consumer to ensure organizations are accountable for their actions. It is up to the organization to create and follow a policy and how and when to respond. Thanks to social media customer service has changed forever.