“I’m mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore.”

These memorable words were shouted in the movie Network by legendary fictitious newscaster, Howard Beale. Peter Finch posthumously won an Oscar for his portrayal in this terrific 1976 movie (could it really be 38 years ago?). That famous scene obviously touched a nerve in all of us, and captured the way we all sometimes feel—frustrated, overwhelmed and wanting to lash out.

However, this Wednesday’s Struming is not a rant about injustice and rising up against authority. It is merely some instruction about what a person can do to get their legitimate complaints heard and responded to.

In purchasing products and services over the years,  we’ve all experienced frustration at some point in our lives when we’ve gotten a defective product, lousy service, delivery/service who don’t show up, and worse yet, no respect or consideration when we’ve spoken up and pointed out the problems. There is something about human nature and corporate indigence that wants to make the complainer the problem. Those who complain are foolish whiners, kvetchers and unappreciative—at least many companies appear to think so. These are the same companies, who have slogans “The Customer is King” and “Quality” on signs in their workplace. And we, the American public, often suffer in silence and frustration, or maybe tell a small ring of friends and family how we’ve been mistreated.

Today’s Struming is a small lesson on how to use social media as a means to respond.

I’ve always said that social media is a megaphone that allows our thoughts and ideas to be heard. Speak intelligently, touch a nerve, along with a substantial audience and companies now are forced to pay attention. The now famous United Breaks Guitars song/video  is a great example of this payback (check it out if you are not familiar). But we are not all songwriters, nor do have the capacity or interest to create a long form video.

But 18% of you (and growing, according to the latest Pew data) have twitter accounts, and even more have Facebook accounts, and that provides you the platform for you to voice your issues. And grudgingly, the companies that often provide the poor service are now the ones who are forced to staff their corporate social media teams to monitor and respond to social media complaints.

Here’s a small real life example:

Our new Kenmore air conditioner was not working in a hot week in July. Ugh. I called Sears and asked for a quick response. They were not helpful, in fact they were condescending, and said a week or longer for a service person was the best they could do. Not good enough.

Here’s what I did. I tweeted at Sears as shown below and they saw it, and responded. Points for them.


sears final response

Having 7000+ followers may have helped get a response, but I figured if I expressed my frustration to a broad audience through twitter that it would get a response. And it did. Notice my first tweets–harsh and straightforward– and their subsequent response, followed by an immediate service call. Voila. It was amazing to see the new attitude that Sears displayed when they realized that I would not accept a delayed response to a legitimate gripe, when I would express myself strongly through social media.

So the next time you experience frustration, think about your social media megaphone. Use it wisely, and you’ll get probably get the response you seek. Isn’t social media grand?

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