“A little birdie told me” – How social networking is changing customer – company interaction

When I signed up from twitter I never thought it would be something that could benefit me in any sort of way besides a couple retweets from friends and a chance to be a fan girl over my favourite celebrities.  Little did I know that the little white

Twitter's logo

bird would be a useful resource in me getting the changes I wanted to see from companies when a phone call to customer service has failed me.

Twitter is a social media site that allows you to say what is on your mind in 140 characters or less.  You have the option to tag someone using the @ sign which will take you directly to their profile, or you can use a hashtag (#) to tag a topic which then creates a link so you can see others who are saying the same thing.  Twitter has been around since 2006 and has done nothing but grow and making positive changes like offering a simple “verified account” blue check mark to celebrities and companies who twitters recognize as the official company and/or person.

As I was saying earlier, this little white bird seems to be solving more and more of my problems lately.  Earlier in the month I experienced a difficulty with my cellphone company (Virgin Mobile Canada) where my call display (which is a service I receive for free as per an agreement in my contract) was going to be taken away.  I called the company who told me “well that promotion is over” and immediately decided to take things to the social network.  A quick message airing my frustration and emphasizing the importance the situation was to me warranted a quick response from the company with an e-mail address to contact.  I wrote a letter explaining my previous customer care problems and received an e-mail back saying it can take up to 5 business days for a response.  I once again returned to twitter to inform the customer service twitter rep that I had sent the e-mail and within an hour and a half I had a response stating my call display was in fact going to return to my phone free of charge as previously agreed upon and would stay that was as long as I was their customer.  Now you may be thinking I lucked out with the cell phone company here – in fact I notice that other Canadian companies like Telus and Rogers wireless offer support for their customers through social networking.

Cell phone companies aren’t the only ones helping their customer base through twitter but Kobo Books is as well.  I have been running into problems with my kobo wifi e-reader for the past 3 months where I have sent it for 3 repairs and the same problem keeps happening.  Tonight when I called the company I pleaded to speak to a supervisor who could possibly give me a replacement instead of fixing this no doubt lemon of an e-reader.  The man on the other end of the phone assured me someone would contact me by e-mail as soon as possible, and no matter how many times I asked to be put on the phone I was denied.  Furious, I took to twitter once more to see if I could get some answers or a speed up in the process time to get e-mailed.  Thankfully, Kobo is another company who uses twitter to communicate with their customers both sharing the praise they receive and giving help to those who are looking for answers (such as myself).  Within 20 minutes of the first tweet being sent (and a few others back and fourth)  I had an e-mail of apology complete with an offer to be sent a free Kobo Touch (one step above my current e-reader).  Needless to say, I’m a happy customer who is just relieved to get back to reading without having to send it out for repair every month.

And while I praise these two companies for being social media gurus and helping me out in the best ways possible I can’t help but feel a little bit angry at the same time.  I feel as though my voice and concerns weren’t heard until I was on a public domain voicing my opinion for the world to see.  I understand the world is changing, but at the same time shouldn’t companies treat every customer equally with respect on the phone and provide them with answers they need? Why is it that behind a computer they can provide me more help then when they’re listening to my clearly upset tone?

Next time you find yourself in customer service hell take a deep breath and let your 140 characters do the talking.  Social networking is here to connect us so don’t be hesitant in using it to get the answers and service you deserve.


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