No money to consult or hire a lawyer. No ability to take time off work and represent oneself in small claims court. No understanding of where to begin formalizing and addressing a complaint about an unfair practice by a business. Social media to the rescue! This digital tool that now-a-days most of the population is linked into one way or another, or can easily create an account through personal networks such as Facebook or Twitter is an effective way to make a complaint against a large corporation. Using social media an individual can get a business’s attention, draw a support group and more importantly gather media attention for a news worthy story. All this is a short time frame.
Take for example commercial airlines reaction to customer requesting refunds for tickets purchased to go down south due to the Zika scare. Were airline’s influenced by comments made on Twitter and Facebook pages? Did airlines see a reputational risk due to this digital chatter? http://www.torontosun.com/2016/01/26/travellers-vent-on-social-media-over-zika-virus-spread.
Eventually major airlines began to change their refund policies giving travellers options for refund or exchanges if originally travelling to a destination with active zika virus transmission, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/airline-reactions-to-the-zika-virus-2016-1.
Why choose social media over the traditional phone call or email complaint? Corporations of every type are more active in social media than ever and the trend is only growing. Corporations must consider the manner in which they respond to complaints from their clients due to the digital world that can become involved in the client’s concern. Businesses need to deal with negative feedback quickly, no longer are the days of delaying a response or brushing clients off for someone else to handle. A legitimate complaint through social media will be assessed and if the business is well run the client will be listened to and taken seriously. A business needs to not only take the risk involved in the negative feedback from their own Twitter or Facebook page but on other sites that offer reviews of services provided by said business (Trip advisor). Albeit the main goal of the business will be to keep the concern as private as possible offering a private online conversation to draw away attention from digital onlookers. As a smart consumer, stay polite, realize there is an etiquette that applies to social media for all parties, but keep the conversation public as this is your trump card.