Twitter has become the tool of choice for many professionals to air grievances about the service they receive from retailers, utilities, banks, and telecoms firms.
Consumers using Twitter – and similar social tools – are vocal in their use of these networks to promote examples of bad practice. And this is important. Think about a restaurant where a Twitter user gets terrible service and immediately uses their phone to tell all their followers – something that takes only a few seconds to share.
If that Twitter user has just 100 followers (or friends) then perhaps it doesn’t seem like a big deal for the restaurant. But think about the exponential effect because any of those friends agreeing with the statement, or just wanting to share it because it looks interesting, can share the comment with their own friends with a single click.
If the 100 friends each have 100 friends, that quick statement about the terrible restaurant tapped into a mobile phone could now be in front of 10,000 people – in seconds.
There are a few companies that have noticed this issue and they have chosen to respond by getting their own staff to monitor networks like Twitter. When negative comments are spotted, the support team assists the person complaining about poor service – often turning a complaint into a compliment, an angry customer into an advocate.
But what is really interesting about this is the difference in timeframes. If a complaint on Twitter is responded to within 20 minutes the general reaction of most online users is astonishment that the company involved has found their complaint and is on the case and working for a resolution.
Imagine if you had to wait twenty minutes for the contact centre to answer your phone when you called in to complain? Most firms are still just experimenting with these services, but there is clearly immense potential in working directly in the areas where complaints are received and turning those negative comments into positives.