I asked this question on Twitter last night and it was a question to which I received some great responses to. In my opinion Twitter is much worse as the complaint is there for all to see and seems as though Twitter will have a much bigger impact on a company/brand than a complaint received via e-mail. An incoming complaint via e-mail can be kept within the four walls of a business where as a single Tweet published on Twitter is there for many to see and also exposes businesses weak points and lack of transparency.
However, a single tweet doesn’t need to come from another corporate, it can come from a single person (Average Joe) who probably only spends a small percentage compared to the big customer who spends millions.
For example, Company A spends £50k a year with your business and complains about a delivery via e-mail. No worries, you can swiftly deal with this one and depending on who received the complaint get it rectified quick time. No-one needs to know and can then be filed away in the round cabinet under your desk afterwards.
Meanwhile, Average Joe who only spends £100 a year complains about a delivery via Twitter and has a social following of 5000 people. They all see this complaint. Two of his followers retweet his complaint and they also have a combined following of 10,000 people who some follow your company. Does this influence their choice of supplier? Does this impact those who are checking you out? Hmmmm……
What is important is that companies on Twitter should be listening to all brand mentions and then actioning complaints via Twitter too so that people can see that you are responding and responding fast. A couple of points raised below highlight this….listening and visibly responding.
Here are some replies from some great followers:@michelehinojosa: That’s why I’m surprised that more companies don’t do the bare minimum in social to protect their reputation.
@PauleyCreative: Twitter, esp if you’re not listening!
@StrangeLoops: If you don’t know how to handle customer complaints then it Twitter can be bad thing, otherwise it will help spread w-o-m
@lawweb: Public can see complaint here, but they can also see response
@hgacreative: It’s got to be via Twitter. The complaint is exposed to a lot of people as opposed to e-mail.
@michelehinojosa: I argue Twitter. More public. Plus I seem to actually get a response when I tweet, and nuthin’ when I write…
@AshishVij: i weigh both equally – only difference is channel, but both should be carefully handled.
@PauleyCreative: Statistics suggest… the complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.
@garyr0binson: The impact of a tweet can be much worse. But if company ignores social conversation then unless BIG problem. they’ll never hear of it & will die away. Bit of a ‘tree falling over in empty woods’ situ. Wrong way to be IMHO
@PeterGould83: Twitter..but depends on how it’s handled! but I also think a well handled complaint on Twitter can actually be turned into a positive.
@usujason: wow…great question. In my experience, complaints via email get ignored, not sure why. Twitter also gives you the opportunity to expose your transparency or lack there of.