We all know the damage an angry social media mob can do to a company’s reputation. Just take a look at J.P. Morgan’s backfired #AskJPM campaign or Amy’s Baking Company’s overly aggressive social media response to their appearance on a reality show. Today’s customers are more empowered, more emboldened, and they’re willing to destroy anyone – and any brand – in their path.

The scales of power have clearly shifted from company to consumer. In our ‘always-on’, uber-connected world, consumers are fed up of wait times and getting transferred from one agent to another without getting their issues resolved. Empowered by the wealth of information delivered to and managed through their smartphones, consumers are now fighting back – with the help of a few enterprising companies. A new wave of applications and services has entered the customer service market to do a disgruntled customer’s bidding for them. Here are just a few:

GripeO – A Better Way to Complain
Let’s start with the appropriately named GripeO, which aims to increase the visibility of a customer complaint while motivating a response from the company being complained about. The complaints submitted to GripeO are taken directly to the business being addressed; some of these companies are GripeO partners while others are just contacted by GripeO on the consumer’s behalf. You can almost look at them as contract complainers who will drive up the volume and visibility of the complaint till it gets resolved to your resolution.

CXPro – The Customer Experience Professionals
CXPro bills itself as a customer experience consulting company specializing in both business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer experience consulting. @CXalert, their dedicated Twitter feed, encourages consumers to tweet good or bad customer experiences, which CXPro will re-tweet in an attempt to “create accountability for both great and poor service.” Unlike GripeO, CXPro’s intent is create a “shame storm” of sorts when bad customer service happens, providing customers additional volume to their issue and greater leverage to getting a favorable resolution. 

GoodorBadExperience.com – Air Your Views
GoodorBadExperience.com is sort of like a Reddit for customer service. Through a dashboard broken into several different industries, people can submit, view and vote on customer experiences other people have had with companies. The site is meant to be a clever, economical and cost effective way for subscribed companies to monitor their business and customer reactions. Companies who have subscribed then have the opportunity to engage and respond to customers on the site.

The good news for those of us in the customer experience industry is that the shift in power to consumers doesn’t have to destroy us. We just need to be smarter and let customers engage us on their own terms, provide information and resolve issues over the channels they choose and create an omni-channel experience so that they don’t find themselves repeating information over and over again. If we’re smarter about the way we engage with customers, they won’t feel the need to run to digital megaphones and scare us into action.