“D.D Denied-Payer deceased” – the importance of getting social media right

Many in the UK will have already seen this doing the rounds on various social media networks. It’s a bill from internet service and cable TV provider, Virgin Media, apparently sent in error to a grieving family, charging a £10 fine for late payment on a deceased relative’s account.

To say it blew up quickly is an understatement. In less than three days the image and attached story has been shared by over 86,000 people and Virgin Media’s own page has been hit by outraged individuals – customers and non-customers – who have seemingly taken the whole thing very personally.

The story is also top of the technology pages on the BBC News website, the Independent and The Mirror.

The whole thing is part of an increasingly common problem for companies following the social media revolution – the social media backlash.

Being on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google+, etc., etc., is no longer optional. Companies need to be listening and responding to their customers, making sure situations like the one Virgin Media have faced are nipped in the bud as quickly as possible.

Your customers (and assorted bystanders) can give you feedback at any time and from any location, and they can do it a lot more publicly than they could ten years ago. In many ways, it’s the equivalent of someone screaming a complaint outside a shop with a megaphone.

Your staff need to know who should respond, when and how. You need to make sure you are consistently following best practice when using social media in your organisation.

The IT Governance Social Media Governance toolkit contains templates and guidance for creating a social media strategy, developing policy, assigning roles and responsibilities, managing related risks and measuring and monitoring outcomes. Take a look at it on our website. It could save you a lot of stress.