Customer complaints through social media can get results

Consumer Reports offers ways to make social media complaining more effective

SAN ANTONIO – Waiting on hold for a customer service representative to pick up the phone can be frustrating. Now, more people are finding social media can be a powerful way to get results instead.

Andres Baracaldo turned to Facebook when his pricey, custom-made smoker pit arrived damaged. The wheel axle was bent, the paint was chipped and it was covered in dents and dings.

“I took pictures of the damage,” he said. “I uploaded it to the Facebook group. People right away starting chiming in with similar experiences.”

The company noticed and quickly contacted him directly.

While most people still pick up the phone to complain to a company, more and more people are taking to social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, to be heard.

“The appeal of using Twitter is that it’s typically very public, easily searchable and the company is very limited in its ability to hide that complaint,” said Consumer Reports’ Kevin Doyle.

To make your social media complaining more effective, CR suggests you should first target an active verified account, one that is regularly monitored.

Never post private information in public postings. Only disclose that type of information through direct messages when you are sure you’re chatting with a company representative.

Be honest. Exaggerating your claim won’t help you get better customer service. And finally, be respectful.

To make a tweet more public, CR says don’t begin the tweet by mentioning the company’s name. Instead, put it within a phrase. That way, it will appear in the timeline of everyone who follows you.

“Companies recognize the power of social media,” Doyle said. “They know that a negative complaint can reflect badly on their entire company.”

As for Baracaldo, he received repair parts and paint for his damaged pit, as well as a big refund.

“Honestly, I don’t think I could have gotten better customer service,” he said.

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