If there’s anything I love (hate) more than having my teeth flossed by the dental hygienist, it’s having to call a major company, outsmart an automated answering system and then sit on hold for a thousand years. By the time I talk to someone real, I either a) forgot what I was calling about or b) can’t resolve the issue.
I recently received an email about a flight schedule change from an airline; I’ve received these before, but it’s usually for a difference of about 15 minutes from the original arrival or departure time. This particular one had me on a different flight with an added layover and arriving about six hours later than originally planned. Not happening.
Enter Twitter. I tweeted at the airline, asking who to contact, and they immediately responded, instructing me to follow them and then DM my confirmation number. Thirty minutes and a couple messages later, I was back to my original itinerary. Resolving my problem without having to use the phone (and “talk forcefully” to the helpless person on the other end)? That’s a win in my book.
Sometimes businesses make mistakes on Twitter, and sometimes they’re freaking awesome. And if they’re utilizing Twitter in the best way, they’re connecting with customers directly, answering questions and solving problems. Here are some more stories:
“My internet had been spotty at best for weeks. I work from home, so that’s a problem. I also have anxiety about calling customer service, and especially when I know from experience that they’re not very helpful and I don’t always understand what they’re talking about.
In addition, in an effort to help me once on a customer service call, the representative had me uninstall something they thought was causing a problem, but it turned out to be an essential program I needed for my remote connection to work.
So in a bit of a fit, using my cell phone, I tweeted about my crappy internet connection. And to my surprise, I got a response from a very polite lady. When I checked her profile, I found out she was a social media representative (for said internet provider) who was there looking for people tweeting negative things. She apologized and offered to help me online, and took the conversation to direct message so that I could share my account information. Although in the end, we didn’t solve the bigger problem, finding a polite response online calmed me down and actually impressed me.”
“My (internet) bill had risen from $35 to $44 and finally to $54 as my ‘promotional’ rate expired. I had known my bill would rise to $44 after a year of service, and I had decided to just accept it and move on; however, when a few months later the bill increased to $54, I became upset.
I called the company to find out what the issue was and a representative assured me it was a mistake on their part, that I would be credited for the overcharge and that the rate would continue to be $44 monthly. After another month with no credit and another bill for $54, I called them again. This time, the agent informed me that the previous $44 was another ‘promotional’ rate and that the official rate for my level of service (which is one notch above the base package) would be $54. I attempted to negotiate the rate back down via phone, but I got nowhere. They would not offer me any promotions whatsoever.
I hung up, opened Twitter, and sent a couple of tweets, one of which I directed at the corporate help account. Within a day or so, I received a reply asking me to DM my account details to them, which I did. About two days after that, I received a call from the customer retention department with an offer to lower my price to $35 monthly for the next 12 months (this was my original rate). The conversation lasted less than 60 seconds, and my next bill reflected the change. That was way too easy.
Lesson learned: don’t waste time talking on the phone when you can just tweet and let someone else do all the work.”
Another Twitter user, @willevanparker, tweeted his disappointment about the wait time and poor service at one his favorite local pizza restaurants. The company took notice and followed up with him via Twitter. He ended up emailing them his concerns in detail and a few days later received a restaurant gift certificate in the mail.
So, the obvious lesson here is to voice concerns via Twitter to win some pizza! Just kidding (but seriously). If a company is doing Twitter right, they’ll be paying attention. Even if a consumer isn’t tweeting directly at a business’ handle, the company can run searches for mentions to see what’s being said. And the consumer can save time and energy by reaching out via a tweet, which already creates a more positive mindset toward a company. So whichever end you’re on, business or consumer, use Twitter to make things right.
Jeanne Petrizzo – Writer/Editor