The hold music they put on at customer service call centres may well be a thing of the past soon.
As companies build Facebook pages or Twitter feeds to push their brands, in the age of social media, the sites are platforms for customer complaints.
Dhruvika Seth, a technology worker, was delighted when computer-maker Dell got back after she posted on its Facebook wall. “In a couple of days my problem was solved,” she said.
Woodland, Mahindra & Mahindra, Havells, Reebok, Nokia, Maruti Suzuki, Cisco, Western Digital and Hyundai are counted among social media-savvy firms.
“It’s better to provide transparent and convenient ways to customers instead of a hidden grievance cell,” said Amol Dhillon, a senior executive at footwear and apparel company Woodland.
“Companies have separate teams looking at their Facebook and Twitter posts and replying instantly,” said Farhad Mohit, founder of Gripe, which makes a software application that enables Facebook and Twitter posts from smartphones.
Electrical goods firm Havells, despite not being a consumer “soft” brand, has 70,000 fans on Facebook.
“In some instances, people come and write “thanks” on our wall after we resolve their complaints,” said Vijay Narayanan, vice-president (marketing) at Havells India.
Automaker M&M’s CEO Anand Mahindra personally acts on Twitter to help would-be customers.
Electronic goods companies are still hesitant to take the social media plunge fearing frivolous complaints.
“Even if a wire comes loose in a vacuum cleaner, people will come and write on our wall,” grumbled a senior official from Philips.