Social media has given customers a greater voice than they've ever had before. I mean lets face it, it wasn't that long ago that shows like Watchdog and Points of View were still popular ways of expressing displeasure at your treatment.
For me offering customers the ability to feedback to you on what you're doing well, and of course what you're doing badly, is one of the key benefits of social media. Think about it. Firstly you get to hear about their criticism, a level of feedback that would probably have remained hidden to you in the past. Secondly you get to improve your services based upon this feedback. Finally you get to improve relationships with customers because they are empowered to co-create products and services based on their input.
All of which makes some new figures showing that a good number of marketers have no idea if their customers are complaining about them online, or worse think they have nothing negative to say.
There really does seem little excuse for marketers not to know this. There are lots of tools available to let you build a community on your own site for consumers to interact with you and each other. If you don't fancy that then you can reach out to them via communities on the likes of Facebook or LinkedIn. Of all the things that are inexcusable, being in the dark has to be top of the list for modern marketers.