So, you may have read the BBC News Article about a bill sent to a deceased man, including a fee for late payment. That’s unfortunate but this happens all the time – Companies lack clear processes for this kind of thing. It’s a shame, but there we go.

What’s more of a shame is the fact that the ad was posted on Facebook and went viral.  It’s a shame because Virgin Media took a while to respond – not before many people also were able to view and be unimpressed by the lack of response or the stupidity / lack of feeling in the first place.

The problem is magnified because it will always be available online, always searchable. If you’ve interacted with a company on Twitter, your dissatisfaction (or the opposite) will be searchable for the foreseeable future. I know it rubs both ways and positive comments will be there, as well as ‘hopefully’ a clear trail that shows the complaint was dealt with, and the person returned to being happy thereafter.  But here’s thing – does that happen? Do businesses post ‘issue resolved’ tweets? I’ve not seen any.

For organisations the problem of social media is two fold – first get bums on seats who deal with social media. Don’t get a ‘social media guru’ – get a customer service expert who can be taught how to do social media. It’s not rocket science- but knowing what makes customers tick is far more complex (although good service is a great start).

Second, build social media channels thoroughly into your business and into how you interact with customers. Look again at your relationships and how social media changes them. Get some wizzy consultants in to help – there are probably ways you’ve not thought about to improve the flow of interaction from you to your customers, from them to you, and from you back again.  It’s not about the social media itself (technology), its’ about how you use it (people and processes).  Getting your staff to believe in social media is another key step so it becomes intrinsic to how you do business.

The social media in business world put to rights by cowtango