By the time you’re done reading this post, you’re going to have a whole new outlook on Twitter. It is, as you know, both a great way to let people know what’s happening in your life as well as an excellent place to discover what’s happening in the world around you. As incredibly useful as those functions are, I’ve discovered that Twitter is also a powerful platform for something else: complaining. I’m being totally serious here. More specifically, Twitter is great for consumers who want to air their grievances with large corporations who wouldn’t normally be able to get their message across. In fact, I think customers complaining about brands on Twitter is good for all parties involved (I’ll get to that later). Thanks to Twitter, the proverbial “little guy” isn’t quite so little any more.
The Internet essentially slaps a digital version of one of those “how’s my driving” bumper stickers you see on semi trucks on the back of every company in the world. These days, businesses receive public feedback whether they want it or not and different companies deal with this reality in different ways. The smart ones have brand ambassadors and social media liaisons trained to field customer feedback and who proactively do what they can to turn customer frowns upside down. Dumb companies do exactly the opposite, ignoring the conversation that is happening around them instead of participating. I’d find it pretty hard to believe that any major company these days is ignorant of the impact social media can have on their bottom line. Sometimes by saying nothing you’re actually saying quite a lot.
The following is not only a case study in digital customer service and a wake-up call for large brands, but also a tutorial for consumers who want to take part in the customer service revolution happening on Twitter in real-time even as you read this. After describing for you a situation in which I used Twitter to complain about an experience with a major hotel chain and the outcome thereof, I’ll share with you why I think complaining on Twitter is a good thing for everyone and follow up with some best practices for both consumers and companies dealing with this issue.
How Twitter Landed Me in the Executive Suite
Last October I was in Chicago for a few days attending a communications seminar. The venue was pretty nice and I ...