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Got A Problem? Tweet About It!

Rex Features
There's nothing more irritating than when a product or service you've paid for goes horribly wrong - a broken strap on a pair of heels, a horrendous dinner, a bad flight. But new research has found that Brits are no longer taking this kind of thing lying down - rather, we're speaking up when it comes to our rights as consumers. And it's all thanks to digital media.
The survey, commissioned by RightNow, found that Brits are three times more likely to write a negative comment on a website than  they were five years ago, and that fifteen per cent of us will criticise products on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Even more interesting, perhaps, is that people who use social media see it as a first stop for their complaints - fully expecting that companies will respond.
'You feel with email and with the internet and with social network sites that it's something within your control,' says psychologist Corrine Sweet. 'I think British people have traditionally been quite passive-aggressive - we've swallowed our annoyance, or we've moaned in a pub, but we don't like to make a fuss...[but] people now have higher expectations.'
The result? Companies are responding quickly to consumers, and everybody is happier. 'I was on a train that was broken down and I tweeted that my battery had run out on my laptop so I was having to resort to Twitter for entertainment,' says Laura Evans, who was on the way to Liverpool from London, 'but if anybody knew where the power socket was on a Virgin train then I'd be very grateful.  [A manager] replied to me...and said that it was under the table.'
But even though social media can give you the impression that you have a direct line to the powers of be. Sweet notes that it's important to remind your manners - and stay calm. 'The internet creates a feeling immediate intimacy where there are no boundaries, but actually it is, in the end, another person who's going to be responding. It's always good to be polite and concise and do your homework.'
What do you think of this new era of customer power? Tell us how you've made it work for you!


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