I was interested to watch The Complainers a new programme on Channel 4 looking at those people who persistently complain and how organisations and companies were dealing with them. Now, I am not going to decide what this was trying to say. Was it that serial complainers should stop it or do they have a point that poor service, products or behaviour should be highlighted?
One thing that seemed clear was that the technical revolution has given people the opportunity to have more of a voice than ever before. Social media have provided people with a chance to name and shame companies that have failed them in a very public way. It is much easier now to find an email, Twitter name or Facebook page that will allow you to vent your anger or concern about something.
But is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. It has given companies the chance to deal with people’s concerns and issues, and to do this in a very public way. The new technology gives organisations an opportunity to show behind the scenes and to explain in a very direct way why something happens. If social media is handled in the right way then it provides a human face to the interaction that takes place online.
People have ever-increasing expectations of what response they will get to issues or concerns. The fact that there have been cuts for most public services and businesses does not bother most people. They still want an answer to their query and they want it faster than ever. It means we have to take the chances we have to deal with their issues at the first point of contact. Company social media sites have to be able to respond to the points raised. Most importantly we have to find ways to use this technology, these expectations and find ways to innovate in service provision.
It would be nice if alongside The Complainers we could have a programme called The Praisers to talk about those people who use the new technology to highlight good service. Every day we receive messages about good service that has been received and get positive responses to how we are using social media to provide information and support to people. But I suppose that might not be as exciting to watch.