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Walking viruses is often the only way to get good customer service



  A Man Throws His Cell Phone into a Youtube Video
Minerva Studio / Shutterstock

Businesses often try their best to ignore customer complaints, but they have one serious flaw: social media. With enough views or retweets everyone can grab the attention of even the worst companies.

Well, maybe not everybody. It is difficult for an average person to become viral. As a result, it is difficult for most people to get great customer service that goes hand in hand with a viral complaint.

The onset of social media mitigation

Businesses invest a great deal of time and money to build a reputation. Whether selling quality products at a low price, returning them to their local communities, or hiring prominent speakers, the goal is to win the trust and recognition of consumers.

But in the words of Sentium, "bad news seems to travel faster than good news. "In the age of the almighty Internet, a website like" www.your-business-sucks.com "can be set up and put into service in about an hour." A business could spend years building a website A good relationship with consumers, only for this relationship to be torn by a viral complaint.

Let's take a look at the video "United Breaks Guitars" as an example. In 2009, United Airlines's baggage handlers broke a $ 3,500 guitar owned by a musician named Dave Carroll. Not surprisingly, United Airlines refused to compensate Carroll for the guitar and tried to keep him in a bureaucratic after-sales service circle.

But Carroll had a trick up his sleeve. He has uploaded the music video "United Breaks Guitars" on YouTube and it has quickly called more than a million times. While United tried to solve the problem (it was after all a public relations nightmare), the damage had already been done. This month, United's shares fell 1

0%, and viral complaints cost shareholders $ 180 million.

Wait, companies are not really interested in customers?

Over the last decade, businesses have been facing more and more viral complaints, from Patrick Stewart's hatred of Time Warner to millions of complaints about fake Amazon listings. Of course, as the Internet spreads, these complaints become more numerous.

That's why Forbes says customer service has turned it into a $ 350 billion industry. However, this money is rarely spent on improving the problem solving that causes customer complaints (eg badly handled bags or counterfeit products). It is mainly used for social media mitigation.

A Google search for "customer service viral" provides a surprising number of articles from marketing websites and business magazines focusing on the existential threat of viral complaints. Some of them even compile customer profit lists.

While most of these articles are larded with jargon about "customer loyalty" via social media, they are highly prone to the idea of ​​mitigation. They encourage companies to use social media as a platform for customer service, but with the dogged indication that only potentially viral complaints should be taken seriously.

As a result, (or not) individuals whose complaints go viral can usually be referred to online customer service forms. For example, the @AmazonHelp Twitter account spends most of its time redirecting customers to the Amazon site, even though customers claim they've already asked for help on the Amazon website.

Here's the problem: No Anyone can become viral

The ability to punish companies for bad customer service is excellent for consumers. Virus infestation can address a bad customer experience while forcing companies and shareholders to implement better customer service policies.

It is a shame that not everyone has the means to become infected by virus attack.

Do you remember Dave Carroll, the man whose guitar was maimed by United Airlines baggage handlers? He became viral because he was able to put together a fun, well edited and well written video about his experiences. This experience was well received by a ton of other passengers (which helped make the video viral), but only Carroll benefited from the controversy. Do you need proof? In 2017, a Reddit thread with nightmare stories from United Airlines has accumulated over 3,000 posts. Not surprisingly, the thread is full of complaints about poorly handled bags.

For a similar (but more recent example), let's compare how Amazon treats a complaint from rapper Ice-T with the way Amazon treats lower-profile complaints. Ice-T complained on Twitter that he almost shot an Amazon delivery driver and that delivery drivers should wear "Amazon" jackets. He did not even mark Amazon in the mail, but he received a clear answer in less than half an hour.

Looking at the @AmazonHelp Twitter page, it is clear that many people (with less ridiculous complaints) # 39; t get the same treatment. A customer complained that after ten days he had not received a package, could not connect with Amazon, and was then repeatedly patronized by Amazon on Twitter. He was also told that Amazon support needed 6 to 12 hours to respond to complaints, but Ice-T received an answer in less than half an hour. Is not that strange?

Are there alternatives to becoming viral?

There is no secret to becoming viral. In the end, the answer is probably "luck" and "pre-existing fame." So there has to be a better way to get good customer service.

If you're stuck in an endless loop of phone calls and unanswered emails, or underfunded items, the best thing you can do is scream into the void and hope someone will hear you. Try to solve the problem by contacting the company directly. If this does not work, try to make the complaint public on Twitter, YouTube or Reddit (or in all three cases). Make sure you tag the company's social media accounts in your public complaint, insert some hashtags, and see what happens.

You can also use other social media posts to inform the company (and potential customers) about customer service sucks. As public complaints become more prominent, companies feel the urge to do more damage control. They could even improve their customer service and start taking non-viral complaints seriously. Would not that be nice?

If social media is not working and you've had a particularly bad experience, you can try contacting local news or a news agency or website that covers the company you had a problem with. With such platforms, you can get more insight into your story and encourage the business to solve it.

CONNECTED: I've announced a fake article on Amazon. Then they banished me.


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