There used to be a time when a brand or a company could go a day or even two without responding to customer feedback, you know take a sick day so to speak. Those days are long gone and brands and companies alike better realize that right now.

Let me state categorically for the record I am not, repeat NOT looking for sympathy but as I’m writing this my head is pounding, my throat is sore beyond all recognition, and I got chills and they’re multiplying only I’m not John Travolta in the movie Grease… and yes I am in the office.

I preface my article with that for a reason… and that is to make the point that in today’s world – today’s hyper-active Tweet, text, post, like, follow, unlike, unfollow digitally-enhanced world we live in, any business, brand, etc., worth its weight in org charts needs to realize that they – their company, their business, their brand, is always on… with a capital ALL and a capital WAYS. 

Like I wrote earlier, there used to be a time when you would call an 800# to voice a complaint, place an order and so on. And maybe you spoke to a real, live human being and maybe you didn’t. Often times you would get something to the effect of “Thank you for your message, we will respond within 2-3 business days” or something like that. Remember those messages? Geez, they’re still not out there, are they? Please tell me businesses and companies don’t still serve up the “we’ll get back to you” edict.

It boggles the mind, does it not?

Another thing that boggles the mind is the fact that so many companies, so many brands, still don’t get it. They still think social media is just about setting up a Facebook page, a Twitter acct, maybe a LinkedIn company profile and maybe a blog. And that’s pretty much it. Oh sure, they’ll post here and there but they will only engage and interact on their time.

Let me repeat that last line…

They will only engage and interact on their time.

Brands Can’t Take A Sick Day…

Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

There are no more “We’ll engage and interact on our time.”

There are no more sick days.

There are no more “we’ll get back to you later” directives.

At least there shouldn’t be any of these but of course we all know that’s not the case.

According to a study by MarketTools, only 23 percent of companies offer customer support via Facebook and just 12 percent provide customer service and support via Twitter.

Altogether now… WHAT?

From an article on ZDNET on this particular study…

“The study found 34 percent of the executives surveyed stated that they were aware of customers using social media to comment on or complain about their company and its products. Despite this, less than a quarter of these executives said that their companies “always” respond to these customers. Still, 33 percent of them said their companies have a greater focus on using social media to capture customer feedback when compared to the same time last year.”

If I didn’t have a headache before I read that last part, I surely would now after reading and re-reading it.

How in the name of Brian Solis and Jason Falls can an executive say on one hand that they know people are using social media to voice displeasure yet on the other hand state they’re not always listening, not always engaging? And even better is the fact 33% stated their company has “…a greater focus on using social media to capture customer feedback when compared to the same time last year.”

Altogether now… WHAT?

Did the same executives answer the same questions in this study? I’m serious because I have no idea why there would be such a disparity in the answers.

Or could it be, just maybe that these executives – the ones who claim they have a better focus than last year are simply kidding themselves?

Could it be that these same executives really have no idea what social media is all about and that it sounds better to state they have a greater focus than last year?

Or could it be, as I posed not long ago, that many companies are too busy for social media?

Now my head is REALLY pounding…

Someone please help me interpret all this.

Sources: Google Images, ZDNET

Steve Olenski is a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via emailTwitter,  LinkedIn or his website.