In this article, Ian Mapp, a consultant at Budd, examines the organisational urge to be ‘seen to be doing something’ about social media – especially when it negatively impacts the company. He tracks the reasons why companies appear ‘faceless’ to many of their customers and discusses the importance of putting the ‘human element’ back into all interactions with customers, whatever the media.

The current surge in interest and participation in ‘social media’ – and a perception that the balance of power in the relationship has shifted in favour of the customer – is forcing organisations to take a critical look at their relationships with their customers. In actual fact, consumers have always held the power as they have the ability to spend their money elsewhere, or not at all. The kind of conversations that we are privileged to be able to overhear thanks to social media have always taken place. The urge to complain about poor treatment or shoddy service to our friends and family is not new. What is new is the fact that these conversations are taking place in a more public way than before. That is, the potential audiences are much larger, with the potential impact amplified. The speed of dissemination is virtually ‘instantaneous‘ – leaving little time for the organisation to respond effectively; and no time at all to consider how/where to respond. The message then is – be prepared.


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