The recent incident of Breanna Hughes, who complained about a bill dispute between herself and Rogers Communications Inc. proves that a customer complaint through social media can seriously impact a company’s online marketing strategy, positively or negatively.
As reported on by Hollie Shaw of the Financial Post on September 3, 2010, Breanna Hughes, an employee of a Toronto software company and author of a popular dating blog pre-negotiated a U.S. data plan with her mobile carrier, Rogers Communications Inc. before a trip to the United States.
However, Hughes still wound up with a $600 phone bill due in part to an error by Rogers and in part to the fact that she used more data than she had originally anticipated. Hughes responded to the bill by voicing her dissatisfaction with Rogers loudly on Twitter to her more than 3,500 followers as well as posting a copy of the bill itself.
In an immediate response, Wind Mobile, a new communications company and competitor of Rogers took advantage of the situation by responding to her tweet personally “@unbrelievable: Ouch! See our unlimited plans (they incl. US text) http://bit.ly/WINDPlans”, which Hughes retweeted to all of her followers.
By being actively engaged with social media and responding promptly to Hughes’ tweet, Wind Mobile was able to take a competitors error and turn it into an opportunity for themselves for good advertising and publicity.
This incident shows us how effective social media can be, and how important it is for companies to be tuned in to their current and potential customers through social networking sites.
From an advertising perspective, keeping a tab on current social media trends is important in order to take advantage of opportunities, and to attempt damage control, as Rogers did when they responded to Hughes via twitter by referring her to a department that could correct her bill.
Social media can not only damage a company’s marketing strategy and reputation, it can also strengthen it. Either way, the importance of being tuned in to current social media trends is critical to any relevant marketing strategy.