Using Twitter to complain, get the customer service you deserve - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Using social media to complain, get the customer service you deserve

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While customers should receive good service no matter the medium they use to complain, more and more people are using social media to vent their gripes about bad customer service. Twitter and Facebook are becoming popular forums for consumers who want their voices heard. And in this social media driven world they want an answer fast.

The average American now spends six to eight hours a day on social media and businesses are monitoring and listening.

Brighthouse spokesperson Joe Durkin says "we have six employees dedicated full time to being out there in the social spectrum just looking for those mentions."

Companies are taking pride in responding quickly to negative and positive tweets and posts. Publix was recently ranked one of the top ten socially devoted U.S. brands on Facebook.  The ranking is based on the number of Facebook fans, how often the company responds and the amount of time it takes for the company to respond.

Shannon Patten is the Director of Social Media and Customer for Publix. "We set out to make sure we created the same level of customer service on our page that our customers receive when they are visiting one of our stores.  We really see our Facebook page as an extension of the store experience."

News Channel Eight viewer Kat Lewis concurs.  She responded to a WFLA post on Facebook about using social media to complain and said "I complained on Twitter about a bad salad I had at Publix. They notified me immediately, apologized and sent me a gift card!"

Social Media expert Deborah Shane of Dunedin says: "It is a really amazing thing that you can use Facebook and Twitter in this way."

Shane had an issue with her Comcast service when she lived in South Florida so she tweeted about it and says Comcast responded almost instantly. "Number one, holy moly, he answered me and number two, resolved my issue.  So I was now saying thank you Comcast, this is amazing."

Deborah Shane says companies can't afford to ignore customers who tweet and post.  "I would say to answer them immediately.  Be proactive, don't wait. This is a golden opportunity for you to reverse a customer service issue by being prompt and being personal with them."

  • The web is a treasure trove of information. Experts say if you use some simple tips, you may find getting a response to be much easier.

  • If you encounter a problem with a large company, take the time to do a quick Internet search and see if they have a specific Twitter handle for the local branch of the company.

  • Check to see if the company has Twitter handle just for customer service. Some companies will have multiple accounts with one specifically dedicated to handling customer inquiries and problems. If they have one dedicated for problems, use it.

  • Once your complaint is out on the web, it's hard to take it back. Choose your words carefully. Give thought to how public you want to be with your complaint. Remember, @Replies are only less visible to the public than @mentions. Using @mentions is when you put their name anywhere in the body of the tweet. This allows ALL your followers to see it…even if they are not following the company you're complaining about!

  • Remember, you have 140 characters. Use them wisely. Provide the most compelling information first. Catch their attention. Don't over sensationalize the problem though! If it doesn't all fit, think about writing your content elsewhere and linking to it in the tweet.

  • Finally, monitor YOUR @mentions and @replies. It would look bad if you miss their reply to you. And, if you don't get a response within 2-3 business days, experts advise sending them a quick tweet as a reminder.

YOUR VOICE: Have you reached out to a company on Twitter? How did they handle the situation? Join the discussion on my Facebook page.


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