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We’ve all had poor customer service experiences. Sometimes it makes you so frustrated you vent to your friends and family about the negative experience and you recommend them not to do business with the brand or company. Word of mouth can travel rather fast, but now it’s easier than ever to spread negative reviews about companies and brands.

It’s just a matter of whipping out your iPhone and tweeting a negative comment with the appropriate hashtag, or logging on to Facebook and posting negative comments on the page of the brand or company for their customers to read. Believe it or not, social media is becoming a growing part of customer service. For the most part, companies are beginning to learn the potential of using social media to interact with their customers.

Companies realizing the potential of including social media in their business plans have official Facebook fan pages that allow their customers to interact with each other and the brand. Since having a Facebook fan page opens the door for both positive and negative feedback, it’s vital for companies to understand how to handle both kinds of feedback appropriately.

During my summer internship with InTouch Credit Union, I witnessed both positive and negative feedback occur on their Facebook fan page. I learned first hand how to properly handle the negative feedback that was received. It’s best to respond to the negative feedback with a public comment that you are sorry for the trouble and that the costumer will be reached with a solution privately. This allows for the situation to be handled out of the public eye, but still allow the public to witness that the situation is being handled and not ignored.

I’m guilty of reaching out to companies with positive and negative feedback with the use of social media. My personal experience with leaving negative feedback was with a snowboard company I had purchased a board from. This company never addressed my issue, but another snowboarding company did. Guess who won my business the next time? Almost every time I’ve left positive feedback for a company or brand I’ve received a personal thank you response, this has helped to solidify my good relations with said companies.

All in all, social media has taken customer service to a whole new level. Hopefully, more and more companies and brands out there will begin to realize the potential for interacting with their customers in a whole new way.