Do you use social media purely as a marketing tool, or do you interact too? Comment away.

Have your say: Does your business listen to complaints on Twitter?

You’ve got to be on Twitter. You’ve got to be on Facebook. We’ve heard it all before. But are firms listening to their customers once they’re knee-deep in social media?

AT Kearney’s Annual Social Media survey found that 70 per cent of complaints are going unanswered – because so many firms set up accounts to talk to their customers, and then never check if anyone’s talking back.

At a recent Datapoint (a contact centre optimisation specialist, natch) seminar, Martin Hill-Wilson of Brainfood Consulting said: “The fact that so many brands are failing to recognise social media in their customer service strategies is a clear signal that they are finding it difficult to move beyond a simple broadcast mode of marketing to one based on dialogue. Social media is a two-way street – when you communicate your marketing message out to your customers, you had better be ready to listen to their reply; it will lose you business if you don’t.”

He has a fancy way of saying it, but he has a point.

You can’t just set up a Twitter account, automate some offers or news stories to get published to it, and then sit back and enjoy the marketing.

Once you’re visible in social media, customers are going to talk to and about you, not just listen passively.

You’ve got to be set up to actually find these discussions, and then have systems in place to respond to them.

How does your business handle customer complaints on Twitter and Facebook? Any tips or stories for our readers? What’s happened when you’ve been the customer complaining on Twitter? Comment below!

If you haven’t noticed, as part of our attempts to listen more to our readers, we’ve recently made it a hell of a lot easier to comment on our stories. Now you can log-in via Yahoo, Google, and yes Twitter and Facebook to post, or use an OpenID. So what’s stopping you?

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