Taking ActionConsumer Reports


How to complain on social media and get results

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jan 09, 2020

Sitting on hold over the phone, waiting to talk with a customer service representative might be a thing of the past!

Consumer Reports says social media can be a much more powerful way to get results quickly.

Andres Baracaldo loves barbecue — and he spent big bucks on his custom-made smoker. But when his pit arrived damaged, he was devastated.

"When I saw the damage, I honestly couldn't even believe it," Baracaldo said.

The smoker's wheel axle was bent, its paint was chipped and it was covered in dents and dings, so Baracaldo took to social media.

"I took pictures of the damage, I uploaded that to the Facebook group. People right away started chiming in with similar experiences and how it was made right."

The company quickly took notice and the owner contacted Baracaldo directly. He was sent parts for repair and fresh paint — and he was even refunded over a thousand dollars.

More and more consumers are following Baracaldo's lead in taking to social media to get results.

"Well, the appeal of using Twitter is that it’s typically very public, easily searchable, and the company is very limited in its ability to hide that complaint," said Kevin Doyle, an editor with Consumer Reports.

Here are some tips to make social media complaining more effective:

  • First, target an active verified account, one that is regularly monitored.
  • Never post private information in public places — this is especially important for Facebook and Twitter. Only disclose that type of info through direct messages when you know you're chatting with a company representative.
  • Be honest — exaggerating your claim won’t help you get better service.
  • Always be respectful. A positive attitude may result in a positive outcome.

"Companies recognize the power of social media. They know that a negative complaint can reflect badly on the entire company," Doyle said.

Fortunately, Baracaldo feels his situation was rectified.

"Honestly, I don't think I could've gotten better customer service," Baracaldo said.

Here's another tip if you want to use Twitter for customer service help. To make your tweet more public, don't begin the tweet by mentioning the name of the company. Instead, place it within a phrase — then it will appear in the timeline of everyone who follows you.