Complaint Management in Social Media

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Research findings indicate that complaints are rarely responded to and usually only where the language used is complimentary to and/or helpful to the firm. Therefore, contrary to Hirschman’s theory of exit-voice, companies are not taking advantage of defensive marketing tools calculated to retain customers. Social media is defined as any online forum or site on which users may exchange information, opinions or knowledge. In other words the term social media refers to websites in which users are able to freely post to those websites. Brunty and Helenek define social media as a social medium which facilitates communications between users and communications between users and those who created or manage the website or page. Social media also includes a forum in which users can exchange content. Social media websites provide a variety of ways for users to communicate and include email, message boards, instant messaging, video or audio chatting. The idea is to provide a sense of community among users. …
In this regard, businesses are looking at various ways in which they can benefit from social media via social networking tools such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.3 Businesses are now entering unchartered territories in that they can now engage consumer-to-consumer discussions through various online social networking strategies. These communications are uncensored for the most part and permit the consumers to speak to one another freely about businesses and their products. Social media also provides a platform for consumers to speak directly to business management.4 From the perspective of business, the quality of user-general content can range from excellent to abuse and spam.5 Previously, consumers merely went online to explore content and information relative to a business and its products and/or services. Increasingly, consumers are adding their own content to a company’s profile, blogs or websites.6 Thus social media has the capacity to impact a business’s reputation, sales and might even impact its success.7 This is all the more important because social media tools are increasing alongside internet users who are gathering at social network sites. For example a Pew Report demonstrates that young adults in the US between the ages of 18 and 29 have increased the use of social networks online via cellular telephones. Between 2006 and 2008 online social networking via cellular telephones, among young adults in the US increased by 10% (from 55% to 65%).8 Overall, access points to social networking via the internet have increased exponentially over the years. Globally, users engaged in social networking increased from 54% to 77% by