Get it Off Your Chest Online!

Have you found yourself in the frustrating position of getting absolutely nowhere with a complaint?

Now this could be on a small scale in a corner shop, at a restaurant where you have had a lousy meal or it could be against one of the big guys. The old saying goes that a bad experience travels quickly with word of mouth as we do tend to share our frustrations with friends, loved ones and anyone that will listen! If anyone is really annoyed about something they tend to share it with a lot of people.

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Spreading the frustration has now got much faster and easier and with a much bigger reach with the onset of the web and the powerful free tools available including Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs.

These tools can work for you in that they can help get rid of that frustration and genuinely hurt the culprits but they can also help to actually resolve your issue to a satisfactory conclusion.

If your issue is with the “big guys” your activity online can really work in your favour and help to get that proper attention that you have been looking for.

The “big guys” and a lot of the smaller companies are very conscious of their reputations and are often carefully tracking what is being said about them online using tools such as Google Alerts and Twitter searches.

To demonstrate this point I will share with you a small real life example of how this worked for me.  I recently had a problem with one of our national phone service suppliers and was very quickly getting nowhere fast. After nearly 12 months of total frustration and the realisation that this problem was not being sorted out by the normal means I decided to write about my issue in my personal blog, carefully naming the offending company in a way that, if they were paying attention they would definitely notice!

Having completed my blog post I then shared the blog with my Social Media Community, my Facebook contacts, my Twitter followers and my connections and groups on Linked In.

All I had to do then was wait and see if my nothing to lose experiment would actually work ..

Within a few hours not only did I have a bucket load of responses from other people with similar complaints but I also received a call from the offending company in response to my blog issue!

Not in response to my complaint but to my blog!  To be fair to the guy calling he wanted to sort out my problem and I was able to take him through it in detail and within days the whole issue was sorted and I managed to negotiate a fair rebate, which I was told was impossible up until then.

Was this a company eager to satisfy unhappy customers or one that didn’t want to be “red-faced” online? – to be honest I didn’t really care, I finally managed to solve a problem that had been dragging on forever.

The lesson in all of this is that if you require it, you have a very powerful and effective voice available to you online if you choose to use the  tools available , to make your point.

However this can be a double edged sword!

Exactly the same can apply to your own business and you should pay attention to what is being said about you online.  Use the simple to use tools such as Google Alerts and Twitter Search and hear first hand about the good, the bad and the ugly!

If it’s good then highlight the unprompted testimonials on your website and in your newsletters and presentations. If it’s bad or it gets ugly then deal with the problem and don’t be afraid to share how you solved the issue online. Use the issue as an opportunity to show you genuinely care about your customers.

There is no hiding place online!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

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