I received the following tweet from the folks at Groubal today, giving me a heads up about their site:
The premise of the site is basically bringing consumers who have had a bad experience with a company together in a unified voice. Already, unhappy online netizens have taken their complaint to Groubal and others have joined in their cause to get the company to pay attention. The big question is whether companies are listening.
One complaint from a person who lost their iPad on a United Airlines flight has already received more than 75 petitions of support from other Groubal members in only three days. However, United Airlines has yet to respond, likely because they don’t know the online complaint exists.
Those companies that have embraced online customer support (e.g. Best Buy, Comcast, and Southwest Airlines) typically focus on Twitter, Facebook, and any online forums that are frequented by their customers. Groubal will need to get their visitors energized and build a groundswell if they’re going to get their name out there and get companies to pay attention. Otherwise, consumers are going to turn back to the traditional complaint channels like Twitter.
I applaud Groubal for what they are trying to accomplish. Personally, I think that a lot of customer complaints get lost in the vast sea of Twitter and forums because companies feel like there are too many places to monitor, so they just go after the big channels. If Groubal can get companies to recognize their approach AND get consumers to come to Groubal to share their woes, it might be a great opportunity for companies to more easily identify issues and resolve them in a timely manner.
I also think an iPhone and Android app are critical to their success, as consumers rarely have a laptop available when the issue arises. Being able to share a complaint via mobile device would be a great addition.
I’ll be keeping an eye on Groubal. Let me know what you think.