Is the Internet one big complaint box? It seems that way, according to the author of this article on “Hatesurfing”. One suggestion by social media experts is for businesses to begin their activity on social media sites by finding out what people are saying about their business. Then, if negative comments or content is found, a business might be wise to try to engage the complainer and try to smooth things over. It’s sort of a backend way to track customer experience.

Another approach to improving customer relationships might be to actively seek out negative sentiments on the web and learn from them. Someone has dubbed this new kind of customer satisfaction research “Hatesurfing.” Single out businesses that are in your industry or a similar one and then see what kind of words people are using when they complain about a product or service.

Learn where the complainers for any given category of business hang out online. One type of business might be more likely to draw the ire of Twitter users, for example, while another might be limited to Facebook or blog comments. Your goal would be to find the complaints that might lead you to new business ideas. Maybe you’ll learn you need to add a new service in order to meet customer demand, or that you need to curtail a business practice of yours that seems to be despised at other businesses.

“Hatesurfing” sounds like a terrible thing, but give it a try if you are trying to innovate for your company. You may turn it into a positive thing for your bottom line.