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A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

How will you respond to a customer complaint in the age of Social Media?

Recommended reading in the age of now media: How will you respond to a customer complaint in the age of Social Media? at FASTforward. This is a lesson fully applicable to public diplomacy, strategic communication, global engagement, or whatever your tribe uses to describe the struggle for perceptions, relevance, and support. Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in new media doesn’t stay in new media.

In the good old days, if you dropped the service ball, no one really knew. You might get a letter to the CEO but your secret was your secret.

Today if you drop the ball, as Dell did back in the day with a leading blogger such as Jeff Jarvis – you could risk a genuine devaluation of the brand.

But I bet that you thought that just regular customers could still be put off and no one would know.

Well, it’s a new world out there and even regular folks can make your life hell and get pay back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

It has been just 3 days since this video about United Airlines was posted by Dave Caroll – the back story is here – 466,000 views so far. My bet is that this will go into the millions and Dave has more video’s on the way!

So what is the lesson? Your customers are deeply connected now. They will harness the full power of Social Media to get back. They can really hurt you back.

Problems happen – but now you cannot afford to think that you have buried them.

You cannot ignore the power of social media – you have to get connected too. At least you have to listen and respond well. Dell rose to the occasion in the end and have become quite expert – here is how that story ended.

Looking at Dave’s Twitter account – @DaveCarroll – I see that the mainstream media are loving this story – expect this to be huge tonight on the national news services.

I wonder if this may be a turning point for Social Media and Customer Service? How can any responsible organization not get engaged now?

Perhaps United should take a cue from Dominos to head of this story.

I wonder when people will realize that social media isn’t a fad. At some point somebody will realize that engaging the online media is just as important as engaging the offline media.

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