September 18, 2012 by quirkyuncle
Businesses pay more attention to social networks than you might think. The next time you have something to say about a product or service, try posting a Tweet on Twitter. You could be favorably surprised with the response you get and how fast you receive it.
I’ve heard more and more people talking about the success they are having contacting customer service via Twitter. It’s certainly a lot faster and far less painful than sitting in perpetual hold on an 1-800 number. And, you can always call or write the company later, if you’re not satisfied with the outcome of your Twitter exchange.
Twitter is an online social network where member individuals or businesses can post and read short text-based messages, called Tweets. You can follow other members who interest you and allow other members to follow you and see what you have to say. Twitter is a free service that you can sign up for on the Twitter website. You can configure security for your Twitter account to be as open or closed as you want to protect your privacy.
Be sure to follow @quirkyuncle after you get set up on Twitter, so you can receive Tweets about all my latest postings.
Since social networks, like Twitter, are becoming a great means to advertise, it makes sense that companies are monitoring what folks have to say. Ordinary people posting their complaints or complements in such a public venue is a cheap way for companies to build both their business and reputation.
When a customer posts a complement, it’s all good. When a customer posts a complaint, it gives the business a public opportunity to remedy the situation, hopefully saving the loss of a customer and showing everyone else how much they care. I’ve heard of happy customers receiving gifts for their positive Tweets (discount coupons or free merchandise) and unhappy customers receiving a public apology and recompense (refunds or repairs).
At a cost to you of 140 characters of text and a few minutes of your time, it seems well worth a try.
Directing your Tweet
If you already know the Twitter account name for the business, make sure you use the @ symbol before their name to target your message. For example:
@quirkyuncle Thanks! Your blog has the most useful postings ever!
If you don’t know the account name of the business, Twitter provides tools to let you search. Some businesses have their Twitter account listed on their website. Just make sure you end up using the legitimate account name for the actual company you want to contact in your Tweet – beware of pretenders!
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it
There is no choice about keeping what you have to say brief, with Twitter’s 140 character limit.
When filing a complaint, attempt to remain professional. Try to stick to the facts. If you appear more disappointed than angry (a little angry is fine), it will enable the business respond in a more positive way.
Business get only 140 characters, too, so let them concentrate on fixing your problem: this is your ultimate goal. If they need to calm you and repair their reputation at the same time, it makes it harder for them to look good, which is their ultimate goal.
Remember, it is easier to address a valid disappointment than deal with an angry tirade. (Again, you can always go nuts on them later, if necessary.)
Feel free to use the Twitter trending symbol, #, in your posting to help make your point. For example:
@quirkyuncle Thanks for helping me fix my car! #awesomeDIY
It’s a new world. Embrace available technology in new ways to help solve old problems.