Sony had a bad start to summer. Remember in May when they shut down their PlayStation Network and Oriocity music service after a hacker attack? Probably even more memorable than that is the way in which they handled the incident. They didn’t say anything meaningful about the situation, they didn’t apologize or explain. They simply took the affected services offline—to the deep dismay of more than 77 million customers. And these customers took their outrage to their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and blogs. In a social media blitz, they slammed Sony, eventually prompting a statement from the company that fully explained the situation and the restoration efforts underway, and offered a compensatory package of free services and premium content. That, my friends, is the power of social media on service.

Service is now transparent; as an organization, you can’t hide your service flaws in our tweeting/Facebook-updating world. People who have a bad experience won’t just tell their friends and family, they will tweet the experience out to hundreds of followers and thousands of Facebook friends. The story will be out there and your reputation will be hurt. For those providing stellar service, social media provides a way to monitor customers’ experiences with your organization and to directly dialogue with those who have suggestions or complaints.

Depending on your service orientation, company culture, and resources, social media can either be a strategic service advantage or a reputation-ruining nightmare.

What do you think?

  • Have you ever used social media to share a poor service experience?
  • How would you feel if the organization about which you complained responded to your complaint via a Facebook page or tweet to rectify the situation? Would your opinion about the organization change?
  • Have you ever used social media to share an outstanding service experience?

Post your response–and check back for a reply!

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