A classmate of mine, Emily, wrote a response to my venting on my blog about my Airtran dismays. She even found a YouTube video of a guy citing his story of canceled flights and bad customer service – also from Airtran.
She made an excellent point about how social media has become a conduit for “venting” about problems, and how some companies have finally caught on and embraced this.
Recently I had an experience with Comcast’s social media customer service. I wrote a status update in Facebook about how I was confused that Comcast would lower my monthly bill if I added a phone line. This wasn’t a complaint, just a perplexed statement. I didn’t think too much of it until I received a Facebook message from a Comcast customer service representative:
My original statement was not a complaint, and I didn’t need to respond (at least about this issue), but I thought this move was so ingenious.
I have a friend who had issues with Comcast billing for the longest time and was unable to get any answers. He posted his stories on a blog dedicated to people who hated Comcast. Not too long after, he received an email from Comcast offering to help.
Comcast, notorious for poor customer service, finally started monitoring exactly where people vent about them the most: social networking sites.
I think it is also interesting to expand from her initial thesis of social media being a forum for venting, and look at how new technology combined with these social media tools has facilitated this process.
As I noted in my original post, I wrote that entry on my iPhone through the WordPress app. I was even able to take a photo on my phone, and include that in my post. All this while sitting at an airport bar (because of course, Airtran had delayed my flight.)
In the video she found, it looked like the man was shooting this clip while sitting at a gate of his cancelled flight. It is possible he even uploaded the video immediately, too.
Had either of us waited until we sat down in front of a computer, found internet, and recreated our rants, they may not have been so strong or so concise. Perhaps we may have even forgotten about it once we got to our destination.
While social media has allowed us to share thoughts more easily, technology now allows us to do so instantaneously, which turns out to be a very powerful thing.