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Twitter as Tech Support

SniperGuySniperGuy Also known as DohaerisRegistered User, ClubPA regular
edited October 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
So, AskSuntrust and Comcastcares are both twitter accounts run by companies to watch general buzz about themselves. I'm sure there are more as well, those are just all I know about. The suntrust one made itself known to me after I was bitching about suntrust issues and they actually gave me a phone number to call that got me an actual person. It didn't actually help me any, but that's not the point. The point is that since more and more companies are starting to do this, are we seeing a more crowdsourced way of getting things fixed? Is this going to be more and more popular, or are we just being used by these companies invading social networks?

So, discuss!

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Posts

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Random anecdote.

    I had started using Quickenonline and found that my credit card purchases where counting as one transaction, then when I would pay my card it would count as another transaction, so was showing me spending twice as much as I did on those purchases (I pay my full balance each month).

    I randomly twittered about, not using hashtags or anything, and got a direct message a few minutes later from somone at quicken apologizing and directing me to instructions on how to set it up right.

    Thought that was really cool, and has kept me using Quickenonline.

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  • EchoEcho very gravitas Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited October 2009
    I've had "customer care representatives" reply to me out of the blue on twitter when I've aired some random grievance.

    So far I've just told them to shut up and quit bothering me.

    Crowdsourced solutions? Fine by me. Actual company? Feels too much like damage control shills to me.

  • LaOsLaOs Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    If they're actually helpful, or at least attempting to be helpful/address your issue, is that really a problem?

  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Companies monitor social media all the time. There are tools out there that aggregate content across the social media space and filter the content into online dashboards. What these tools can do is actually quite amazing. I work for one of said companies.

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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    It's maybe a reaction to the fact that people generally won't approach companies about problems they can live with, because the perception is that companies are difficult to deal with, generally uninterested, and not worth the hassle of communicating with.

    At the same time, people will bitch endlessly to everyone they know about said company, even if it's something easily rectified.

    So possibly they're trying to encourage people to at least try contacting them for minor stuff.

  • LaOsLaOs Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    That's basically how I see it.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    There's also that maxim about how customers who have complained and had their complaint resolved are more likely to remain loyal than those that didn't complain in the first place.

    I'm not sure if that continues to hold if you proactively seek out disgruntled people, but I can see how that thinking would lead to this approach.

  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    LaOs wrote: »
    If they're actually helpful, or at least attempting to be helpful/address your issue, is that really a problem?

    The problem is that the sort of person who responds to anonymous net discussion on behalf of a company doesn't have the job description "go forth and be helpful to random people." Though that would be awesome. The PR guy's job unfortunately isn't even "go forth and make us look good." It's typically, "go forth and minimize the stuff that makes us look bad," which is worse than useless, most of the time.

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  • LaOsLaOs Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Unless, of course, it's actually helpful or at least an attempt at being helpful/addressing the issue (complaint).

    Why does it matter why they're doing it? The whole idea behind making shit that works, providing support for that shit, and addressing customers' problems with that shit really boils down to they want to be able to sell more shit (preferably to those same customers again!). Why does it matter if they're addressing problems because they don't want to look bad instead of addressing problems because they feel bad that you have a problem with their product?

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I tweeted about how my Washington Post wasn't getting delivered, and 15 minutes later I got a direct reply from the Washington Post customer service people. And I haven't had a problem since.

    I think it's a great idea. Businesses know that people bitch about bad service on Twitter, so if they are on the lookout for it and contact people to solve their issues, good for them. Twitter is actually a pretty great system for triaging customer service complaints and directing them to the correct department.

  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I'd prefer to be notified via twitter for helpdesk calls I get, if only to avoid lengthy emails and phone calls for simple issues.

  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Maybe I should Twitter about the piece of shit Comcast had come out to install service at my new house. Dumbass tried to drill through the wall and hit the electrical box in the basement. I had to go down there and give him very precise instructions and mark spots on the walls and floor, after using measuring tap, to get him to drill in the right places.

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  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    LaOs wrote: »
    If they're actually helpful, or at least attempting to be helpful/address your issue, is that really a problem?

    The problem is that the sort of person who responds to anonymous net discussion on behalf of a company doesn't have the job description "go forth and be helpful to random people." Though that would be awesome. The PR guy's job unfortunately isn't even "go forth and make us look good." It's typically, "go forth and minimize the stuff that makes us look bad," which is worse than useless, most of the time.

    You're both wrong and right here. A lot of companies now have what are called "community managers". These people are basically a hybrid of customer service, marketing, and PR - and they typically have the latitude to do anything (in reason) to fix someone's issue.

    Sometimes companies use this for negative reasons however as well. I've seen many an employee get in trouble because they decided to tweet something wholly inappropriate about their jobs. Really, it can go both ways.

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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    There has been something of a blurring between PR and customer service these days, not least because it doesn't take much for a "dumbass customer service rep" story to spread like wildfire.

    Anyone remember that one where that guy couldn't get a Verizon rep to grasp that 0.002 dollars was not the same thing as 0.002 cents?

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