Calling the customer service hotline is so last year

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By Alexandra Tanner / Staff Writer

By Alexandra Tanner / Staff Writer

With less than 20 followers on twitter, I’m pretty sure my opinion in the corporate world doesn’t matter.

But, because of the almost instant satisfaction I’ve found that society gets from sharing its thoughts with the World Wide Web, I’ve come to find that this whole social networking thing can be pretty significant.

The majority of college bound individuals living in the 21st century, young or old, own access to a personal social networking page or personal profile. On these sites they are given the tools to express their opinions, actions, and even concerns as bold as they want, whenever and wherever they want. There are thousands of social networking or blog sites that have influenced a lot of today’s culture.

From everything like the witty lines in current comedies to picking up a date or catching up with old friends, Web sites like twitter, YouTube, MySpace or Facebook almost literally, have the user with the world at their fingertips.

So it makes sense that users would take these tools to voicing their opinions on just about everything.

 How high would one personally rate the effectiveness of personal opinions on a site like twitter?

Do tact and assertiveness apply when using forms of self expression  through the internet?

 When dealing with consumer complaints online, why do users divulge blunt and uncensored comments of dissatisfaction about products and say things they  would never say to an actual consultant?

Believe it or not, corporate America, especially today, pays attention to questions like these when deciding if certain costumer complaints get enough attention to be confronted, possibly appeased.

Most brands have prepared a representative on most social networking sites in case of emergency. Think of it as instant damage control.

It is a new responsibility for corporations now that the internet is shaping to be the leading source of information, trends and references. 

On many occasions those with over 1,000 followers on twitter, who stated complaints on a particular product or service, and received a substantial number of “retweets”, have proven to get a respectable response about the topic of complaint.

The majority of the time would only be a statement or two about where they could get more information about their concern. 

The problem with social networking and instant updates is that, for the overt complainers out there, they think that they have the right to say whatever they’d like about a company or product.

 Even if they state something completely playful about their general discontentment, consequences still may ensue.

Actions such as suing people for their tweets or groups on Facebook and MySpace have been drawn out before.

An example of such disciplinary measures was displayed in July 2009.  Amanda Bonnen, a twitter user, mentioned the mold in her apartment, and the realty company who provided it.

On her twitter posting she stated “You should just come anyway. Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.” This story was reported by Matthew Shaer, a writer for  the Christian Science Monitor.

Even though Bonnen was talking to the company sarcastically, Horizon Realty didn’t seem to think putting their name to shame was at all amusing or belonged on the internet.

Bonnen was sued for defamation,  for amounts that most likely ended up in the thousands, and it’s not even mentioned how many followers she had.

With that, I’m not condemning your online opinions, I’m merely stating the facts. What you do or say on these sites may offend that company or gather the wrong attention, namely legal attention.

Not to mention your opinion will not be considered valid, but possibly received as a childish whine.

When considering a product or service you would like to see improved, by all means; don’t hesitate to grace the keyboard with your presence.

Just go into your rant knowing what you’re going to type before you type it.

Persuasive and objective posts will probably gather more followers in the long run then statements that bore or come across repetitive.

Online expression is highly encouraged and recognized as one of the best ways you can instantly give others warning while never having to be put on hold with customer service to “assist” you.

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