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Get Better Customer Services by Leveraging Blogging and Twitter

Last week, I read an interesting story on SEOmoz (no really, it’s applicable to people who don’t even know what SEO means!) about getting better customer service through Twitter.

To summarize, Rebecca wanted to cancel a Comcast sports package. She was told by the customer service representative (CSR) that she couldn’t do so, even though the season had just started. She couldn’t even talk the CSR into a prorated refund. Frustrated, Rebecca used Twitter to vent her annoyance.

Less than 12 minutes later, a Comcast representative tweeted back to her. He asked about the problem and they discussed it. Meanwhile, some of her followers responded to her initial tweet or even “retweeted” it (to repost a tweet on your own twitter feed). She and the twittering Comcast CSR eventually solved the problem and she got her refund. Comcast was very smart to have people use Twitter to fix problems.

That really drove home to me the power of blogging and even twitter. Twitter is essentially a micro blog, where anyone can publish their thoughts in 140 characters or less. “I hate comcast.” takes only fifteen. In some ways it’s more egalitarian than blogs. You don’t need to pay a dime to set up an account and even attract a number of followers (sure, you can do that on a WordPress.com or Blogger blog too, but Twitter accounts have the advantage of looking about the same).

A recent commenter on one of my articles about Direct Buy (rather enthusiastically) explained that Direct Buy had apparently bought out a site on infomercial scams, just to quash negative publicity. Because that site was showing up #2 in searches for Direct Buy.

Whether or not it’s the case, it’s certainly believable.

All in all, this is pretty good news for us consumers. Sometimes CSRs are impossible to work with. Even calling back may not help and may just feel like a waste of your time. But in the ideal market, consumers have as much power as anyone. And the internet is a great tool for using that power.

So if you can’t get through to a CSR, why not write a blog post about your experience? Or some tweets? Smart companies care about their reputation and would much rather have a negative blog post amended to say “They helped me get everything fixed, awesome!” than have it showing up in potential customer’s Twitter accounts or ranking for a search term on Google.

Then there’s the old-fashioned method: write. A real ink-and-paper letter. Find information of someone important at the company–president, etc, and address it to them. Or find/figure out their e-mail address (look at any company e-mail addresses and figure out their method of handling names: j_smith, jsmith, smithjohn, etc.) and e-mail the letter. If you do have a blog/twitter account, mention that you plan to spread the word of how well or poorly they handled it, depending on the outcome.

As someone pointed out to Rebecca, ideally she’d have gotten everything solved during the first phone call. But since she didn’t, it’s still much better that things are solved now than if they weren’t.

There’s all kinds of power you have as a consumer, the key is using it.

Have I written a lot about Twitter lately? It’s not intentional.


{ 1 trackback }

Twittering and Blogging My Way to Improved Customer Service | Uncommon Cents
November 14, 2008 at 4:19 pm

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Miranda November 10, 2008 at 10:17 am

Great post! The power of the Internet really can be used in favor of consumers. This is a great example of the power in numbers. Now, if we could just use that power to convince cable and satellite to adopt an a la carte system…

Michael November 10, 2008 at 10:25 am

Interesting, didn’t realize you offer SEO services. We could have a conversation about that.

Sara at On Simplicity November 11, 2008 at 5:40 pm

I wonder if this works with positive feedback as well. I’ve gotten great service after emailing companies whose products I love (high value coupons, samples, etc). I wonder if positive tweets would get any kind of response?

FreelanceVenue November 12, 2008 at 1:04 am

Yeah, I believe it works the same way with positive reviews!

But then again… we’re humans… and we find controversies more appealing, unfortunately!

Ryan S.@uncommon-cents.net November 12, 2008 at 2:20 am

I’ve been contacted by Sprint reps several times; one actually did solve an issue I was having. The unfortunate part is that it had to come to that in the first place.

Student Scrooge November 13, 2008 at 7:10 pm

I wonder to what extent this may be a “fad” though — if everyone turned to Twitter, it would be just as bad as traditional customer service.

Plus, the point here is that they are obviously concerned that people may read your blog and get a bad impression of the company — image control 101. However, the internet simply makes it too hard to control your image — anyone can write a post that can make it to the top of a google search. Might they just give up?

I don’t know, I don’t mean to be cynical, as I too have benefited. Hope this trend continues.

Andy November 14, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Twitter is great, but some folks tend to put way too much in terms of personal details. Need to be careful what you say in public.

Zhu November 15, 2008 at 12:47 am

I tried it recently for a problem I was having with Virgin Mobile. I’m still getting rid of that phone because of their terrible customer service, but I learned quite a few tricks thanks to my commenters.

Jay Ehret May 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

When you think about it, it’s really a little sad that customers have to resort to Twitter and unconventional means to achieve the customer service they deserve through normal channels. Yes, it’s nice to be able to use Twitter to get a response, but it’s also proof that the company’s normal customer service channels are broken.

Jay Ehret’s last blog post: Twitter Service vs. Real Customer Service

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