This article is another reminder of the power social media, and the web in general, provides to the average consumer. Through organized blogs and web pages scorned consumers can unite to exchange information and become a powerful, collective force against organization that empower them, through poor customer service. The level of power these groups amass is directly correlated to the level of poor customer service delivered by the corresponding companies. Cable and cell phone providers are typical targets due to the lack of immediate alternatives and ease of switching. Often times for both this would involve purchasing new equipment, service cancelation fees, and potentially many calls with customer service representatives on the part of the consumer. This makes people feel locked-in and frustrated, turning to alternative options to deal with their frustration.
Its clear that this is a trend that is not going away. As more and more people become active with twitter, facebook, blogs, and other social media platforms, this practice will certainly grow and intensify. Companies would be well-advised to address this possibility within their customer service department. In the article an area within Comcast's customer service department is discussed. This unit was tasked with monitoring social media outlets for issues and providing solutions to the consumers to alleviate their concerns. Though they were probably a little late to the game on this, I think other companies could learn a valuable lesson from them in this department. Cutting these concerns off as early as possible will certainly quiet the movement down and hopefully cause the group to discontinue their page/blog/videos/etc.
Having worked in financial services, and other service industries, my entire career I have noticed there are always some customers that are never happy. I think we've all sat next to THAT GUY at a restaurant, at the store, wherever that just won't be content unless his/her entire meal is comp'd and the server tips THEM just for their patience. I fear these types of consumers may represent a certain sub-group of these "consumer vigilantes". When I hear about the customers posting executive phone numbers, personal lines in some cases, I get a little concerned. What's next, home address? If these, let's call them difficult-to-please, consumers take to these methods it will pose an interesting problem to companies. Do they buy them off with discounts, vouchers, etc (equal to the restaurant manager comp'ing the patrons meal even though there really wasn't any major issue with service) or do they stand strong and counter the attacks with their side of the story??
What do you think, where is this trend heading and how should companies respond?