Have a complaint? Go on Twitter

N Saroja, a resident of Ahmedabad, had a prepaid Airtel card which she wanted to convert to postpaid. She submitted all relevant documents and was told that the address would be verified over the phone. When she called the customer care for address verification she was asked for a plot number in the address as per what had been entered in the Airtel system. She clarified that her address did not have a plot number. Despite this, the service provider blocked the mobile connection. Due to a data entry error by an Airtel employee, Saroja had to endure the inconvenience of a blocked connection and make several fruitless visits to the Airtel office.

This is when her daughter Anusha decided to take matters into her hand. She posted the grievance on Twitter and tagged Airtel. This evoked an immediate response. After a few calls the matter was resolved. The customer care department completed the process of address verification and in three hours the connection was activated.

If you are tired of your consumer complaints going nowhere, despite making numerous phone calls and sending emails, take your concerns to Twitter. It might get you better results as the case above shows.

According to an article in www.hollandsentinel.com, not long ago it took a strongly worded complaint to get a company’s attention. Now with social media, companies are getting real-time feedback on their products and services. No company wants negative publicity. So if a consumer fails to get a quick positive response from the customer care department, he/she should tweet about the complaint. The company concerned is likely to act immediately and take damage control measures.

In fact, many companies, including telecoms, airlines and even banks, scour social media daily for upset consumers. They want to nip complaints in the bud, before they go viral and tear into their brand’s image. A survey from telecommunications firm Amdocs in US found that nearly one-half of consumers use social media to try to resolve issues.

Scott Duehlmeier, social media supervisor for The Summit Group, says consumers should keep their tweets civilised and to the point. “If you can, attach a picture. This way many times a company is able to identify the problem and solve it,” he adds.

A word of caution from him: “What you tweet about a brand must be true or you could find yourself facing a libel lawsuit. When ordering something, keep an eye out for clauses that say you’re not allowed to disparage a company online or anywhere else.”

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