Anyone who has spent any reasonable time on Facebook or Twitter probably saw it happen already (or even did it themselves):
- Someone has a problem with a product;
- The company producing the product has received a request via official support channels, but can't or won't act on it, even after escalating the request;
- The problematic client then sidesteps the official support channels, either by complaining about it or asking their social media following if they know anyone who can help (usually both);
- Someone from the company notices the issue and solves it;
- The problematic client posts happily that their problem is fixed.
This usually happens in B2C transactions and issues, but it sometimes also happens in B2B interactions. I saw it happen on my Twitter feed today, even.
My main question with this is whether this can be considered ethical in B2B transactions. On one hand, as an employee tasked to fix an issue, the company usually doesn't really care how the issue gets fixed as long as the costs are kept reasonable, so you should use whatever means you deem necessary and prudent. On the other hand, the other company might not be happy that you went public with the issue, because you forced them to fix it or lose face. And from the perspective of the other company, you just set a precedent that if support won't help you, you just complain on social media and it'll get fixed soon.