Service with a smile – and a retweet.

While I was the middle of some very important SMC tasks, my car broke down.  I was stuck in downtown Minneapolis without even an educated guess as to what happened beneath the hood. I thought, “No problem, it’s early, I’ll get this fixed,” and called a towing service.

By the end of the day, I had already pushed back my work-related tasks and my car remained unfixed. This isn’t the first time I’ve had a problem with this towing company, but I do not like to call and complain. There are many people out there who share this aversion. However, thanks to the advent of social media, we all have a complaint outlet that doesn’t require direct confrontation: Twitter.

I’ve been in customer service for the majority of my working career. I now know interesting facts, like for every customer who complains, 26 remain silent. I also know if I complain on my Twitter about service I’ve experienced more than 26 people will see what I have to say, and now that more companies are listening and monitoring online conversations, they see it, too.

However, a survey found that nearly 70% of businesses do not respond to complaints on social networks, because they are not on social media sites.

With stats like that, the solution is obvious. More businesses need to have an online presence and actively engage. Their audiences are talking, why aren’t they listening? They’re missing important dialogue and in turn, losing business and positive sentiment.

Crisis communications within a business are as old as time. Some are afraid to touch social media because of potential unflattering sentiment, but whether they like it or not, those conversations are going to happen. These complaints are going unnoticed by companies who refuse to be online, but they do not go unnoticed by potential customers.

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