Got a Complaint? Use the Social Network

Cisco lets you reach out via Twitter and Facebook

By Scott Budman
|  Saturday, Nov 6, 2010  |  Updated 2:27 PM PDT
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Dog Eat Dog World of Silicon Valley

Hang up the phone and simply tweet your complaints to companies with Cisco's new software.

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Have you ever wanted to give a company the finger? You can -- and now, the company might actually notice.

Cisco Systems just rolled out what it calls "Social Miner," a piece of software that lets companies monitor what's being said about them on social networking services like Facebook and Twitter.

The goal is to help companies respond to consumers comments about their products. For example, if someone is ticked off at Pepsi or Home Depot, they can send a comment out over Twitter -- and Pepsi or Home Depot can see it easily and respond.

This lowers the bar for getting noticed by big corporations. Ever sent a question or a gripe to a company's 'contact us' email? And then waited endlessly for reply? Exactly.

The core purpose is so consumers can easily be heard without having to be tech-savvy -- and so companies can easily find, and hopefully reply, to consumers' concerns.

If people are satisfied, businesses will know. If something is wrong, they'll know that as well. Companies are jumping into the social networking world with both hands these days, sometimes awkwardly.

Much like how they provided companies with the tools to work the dot com boom, Cisco wants to be the tool provider for companies eager to stay in touch with their customers.

This is -- if it catches on -- even better news for those of us who hate the idea of spending hours on the phone waiting to talk to a customer representative, and may someday smooth over the torture that customer service has become.

Give it a try. Reach out and touch a company with a Tweet. Who knows, it just might lead to a fix.

If you have a comment about this article, you can let Scott know on Twitter @scottbudman

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