Customers are organising their own complaint forums

Last Friday The Daily Telegraph splashed a consumer story about mobile telephone users and their problems across their personal finance pages. The story focused in particular on EE, with example after example of bill errors and other bungled service.

Regardless of whether EE is really as bad as the article implies, there was an interesting aside mentioned, that customers are starting to form their own protest groups to collect together stories of poor service and to demand change.

In the case of EE, a disgruntled customer has started a blog and Facebook page that allows and other disaffected customer to share their own stories. Of course, I’m sure that with a little digging on Facebook it would be possible to find consumer sites carrying complaints about every bank, phone company and utility in the UK.

This raises three important points that executives of any brand – particularly consumer brands such as telcos – need to be aware of:

  1. Customers can now do the complaining together. Social networks allow them to easily find other disgruntled customers. If you are not looking after your customers then they will find each other and work together.
  2. Customers don’t need the personal finance page of a newspaper today. They don’t need to wait for a TV program to help them. They can just create a Facebook fan page and start attracting people with a similar problem.
  3. You need to be monitoring all this online chatter to be aware of what people are saying, so intervention or engagement can be undertaken when needed.

Customer service today is far more about engagement and conversation with customers than just offering a phone line for complaints, but when brands don’t make themselves available enough, customers can take their grievance public very easily.

Have you seen similar complaints go viral online? Leave a comment on the blog here or tweet me on @simondillsworth

Daily Telegraph building, Fleet Street, London

 

Photo by Andrew Middleton licensed under Creative Commons

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