Does Your Company Monitor Twitter, FaceBook and Blogs for Customer Complaints? If not, why not?


Last year I told you about a Comcast contract technician who fell asleep in a customer’s home while waiting on hold with the local Comcast office. Using a cell phone camera, the customer’s teenage son shot a video of the repairman sacked out on his couch and posted it on the Internet. The video received more than 1.3 million views on YouTube. The story was discussed on hundreds of blogs and Comcast’s reputation was irretrievably damaged.

Well, I’m back with an update on how Comcast is now impressively responding to complaints posted about their company on the Internet.

Comcast created the position of Digital Detective. I just love the sound of that! Comcast Digital Detectives scan social networking websites looking for ways to help customers who take issues to the web and by doing so, they are aggressively protecting brand credibility.

Here’s how Comcast Digital Detectives are saving the day for customers. Last year a Comcast customer experienced an outage with both her high-speed Internet and phone service. She says it took at least an hour and a half to get through to someone at Comcast and they told her it would be Thursday before a technician could come out. Frustrated, the customer logged on to Twitter from her Blackberry and typed “Damn Internet down in my house. Arrrrrgh. Can’t fix until Thursday. Shoot me.”

A Comcast Digital Detective saw the posting, tracked the customer down, and had the customer’s Internet and phone back up by 5pm that day. How’s that for a comeback? Comcast is surprising and delighting customers like this all day everyday simply by scanning social media for postings about their company.


What is Social Media?

Social media is any media generated by consumers. Its blogs, message boards, product review sites, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter…the list is ever evolving. Consumers often, but not always, use social media to post complaints about brands.

Companies today cannot sit on the bench when it comes to social media. If you’re serious about keeping your customers, you’re going to have to get involved. Here are 4 steps to get you started.

  1.  “Google” your company name. You need to know what’s being said about your company in the online media world. You’ll be amazed at what you can pull up. From Google you will find the blogs, message boards, product review sites, chat rooms. Google your company name with the word “sucks” behind it – and brace yourself because it may not be pretty.
  2. Perform a Tweetscan to find out what conversations are going on right now on Twitter about your brand. While you’re there, do a quick search on Comcast and Dell to see how proactive these companies are when it comes to getting involved in online conversations with consumers.
  3. Setup a  account TODAY. Don’t dismiss Twitter as social site just for young people. Smart companies are leveraging this free social networking community in a profound way. Comcast, under the username ‘ComcastCares”,  is reaching out to dozens of customers every week on Twitter. Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Kodak, and Dell are also proactively involved in conversations on Twitter. Not only are these companies fixing problems for customers, but they’re building relationships and keeping customers updated. Go to http://www.Twitter.Com to setup your account.
  4. Assign someone from your company the crucial responsibility of daily monitoring social media. This person will daily monitor Twitter, FaceBook, product review sites, message boards and blogs in general. This is often a good fit for Representatives who handle email or chat discussions for your company.  On the cutting edge, Southwest Airlines has a social media team that includes a Chief Twitter Officer. Additionally, Southwest has a person dedicated to fact-checking online and interacting with bloggers and another who takes charge of the company’s presence on sites such as YouTube, Flickr, and LinkedIn.

We are in an era of the powerful consumer. Consumers are taking matters into their own hands, taking a vengeance against companies for being unresponsive. These powerful consumers refuse to be ignored and in the process they are attracting enormous media attention, influencing consumer buying decisions, and causing significant market damage to companies.

You need to be right there when and where consumers vent their problems online so you can respond in an immediate and personal way. Adopt the 4 steps I presented here and you’ll be on the cutting edge of serving customers through the powerful social media.