Back in the day if you had a complaint about a company the only people that would generally know about it are you and the person on the other end of the phone dealing with your complaint. But as technology has advanced that one-to-one phone call can escalate into thousands of people talking about it and the company fighting to defend itself.
Yes, I am talking about social media. Nowadays the majority of companies have some form of social media account, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+ (we are on all of these).
Social media can work in two ways for a company as long as they are active and replying to people’s messages. One example of a story that received fame by being shared on social media was the story of a little girl who wrote to her local Sainsbury’s to ask why tiger bread isn’t called giraffe bread. The letter she wrote and the very clever reply she received from the customer manager was shared thousands of times after the little girl’s mother uploaded it onto her blog.
But sometimes the stories aren’t always in the company’s favour, as Virgin Media recently experienced. A deceased man’s son-in-law, Jim Boyden posted an image of his late father-in-law’s final bill onto Virgin Media’s fanpage. This may not sound out of the ordinary, but on the bill was written “D.D Denied-Payer deceased”, which is an automatic notice from the bank that the payer is deceased. To add insult to injury, Virgin Media then added a £10 late charge to the deceased payer.
The image along with Jim’s very witty comment has been shared over 53,000 times since Monday night. If companies don’t respond quickly enough to public messages then the general public see it as an opportunity to jump on and share with the world, forcing the company to make a public apology.
In a statement for the BBC, a Virgin Media spokesman said: “We offer our sincerest apologies for the wording that appeared on the bill. Automated responses from banks should not appear on customer bills and we’re investigating how this happened.
“We have a team in place to ensure bereavements are managed sensitively and will ensure this wording is removed from our billing system. As soon as Mr Boyden brought this to our attention, we looked into this matter straight away and can confirm the account has now been closed, with all late payment charges removed.”
Have you ever taken to social media to vent a complaint in a more public way? Or do you still prefer to wait in call centre queues to speak to someone regarding your issue?
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