Last night I watched the Channel 4 documentary “The Complainers”.

No one’s impressed when things go wrong, so some of the reactions of the people on the programme were understandable (although I do have an issue with the guy who was a professional complainer who’s sole aim was to get compensation from every company possible), but what was more interesting was how they were dealt with by the companies.

Last night’s focus was on utility companies, one of which was the energy giant E.ON.

Channel 4 was given exclusive access to E.ON’s customer service centre to show how they deal with some of their most challenging customers.  It wasn’t the massive customer service team that caught my eye; it was their social media team.

I can’t remember the exact numbers, but they have a team of about 20 (forgive me if that’s wrong) customer service agents just to monitor their social media channels. Every Facebook comment and tweet is responded to – that’s pretty impressive.

Social media offers consumers a public platform to berate companies that fall short of the mark. For companies, they are also useful tools through which to be seen to be ‘listening’ to their customers and willing to do everything within their power to resolve any issues they may have.

What you can learn from E.ON

If your company uses social media, how effective are you at monitoring what’s being said?

Facebook and Twitter give your customers ‘instant’ access to your company, or at least that’s their perception. Within a few keystrokes, they can vent their frustration for you and everyone else to see. That’s why it’s essential you actively monitor your social media channels.

No one likes getting complaints, but how you deal with them (especially on social media) can turn a bad situation into great PR for your company.

By quickly responding and resolving their gripe, you’re sending out a signal that you’re listening, you care and you want to help your customers. If you leave the comment unanswered, well, the opposite is true.

Being effective on social media

It doesn’t take a lot to be effective on social media:

  • Make sure you have someone monitoring your social media channels
  • Make sure they’re aware of your social media policy
  • Respond to all comments quickly
  • Follow up to make sure issues are resolved quickly

It doesn’t take a lot and will make a huge difference in the eyes of your customers. If you’re going to use social media make sure you incorporate it within your company’s customer service section and monitor it regularly.