The Social Media-enabled Customer

September 11, 2010

Is the customer always right? Even if they can’t be heard?

I got some crap the other day because I called out a business for not being accessible via social media. I was looking for a particular product and I wanted – in my familiar instant-gratification style – an answer immediately. The product and the brand aren’t important, but I didn’t hesitate to shout about how they had left their customers high and dry.

(Image copyright Jim Benton – Jim Benton dot com)

Turns out, the social media representative for that company was away on vacation in a region that had minimal cell coverage or Wifi. That meant any interaction, requests, concerns or engagement would have to lie dormant for a week while this human enjoyed well-earned vacation time.

I said things that probably made the brand look bad. I wondered aloud why they had abandoned social media and where should I go now with my service. I also made some overtures about other brands that really had abandoned their Twitter stream – examples include Burton’s Restaurant of Hingham (last tweet was in April), Summer Shack (last Tweet in July) and Fat Cat Restaurant in Quincy (last tweet was NEVER, but they pimped their Twitter presence on their Website and urged people to interact with them).

So what’s the reality? Are people just dipping their toes in and running away?

Are people at companies so overwhelmed and busy selling products that they don’t have time to market?

Have businesses gotten into social media for the wrong reasons?

And am I, and you and you and you and you, harboring unrealistic expectations of how companies should be using social media tools to communicate and serve us?

Leave a comment. Let me know what you think.