7 Tips for Getting Good Customer Support on Twitter
Frustrated by a petty gate agent? Mad because your cable company is giving you bad telephone support? You know what to do: Take your complaint to Twitter. Tweet the world!
But what happens next?
That depends on how you tweet.
Complaining about customer service on Twitter or other social channels is a long-standing tradition. But recently, two big customer service tweets broke out that really illustrate the power of Twitter to effect change — and how that power can backfire. First, Ryan Block wondered on Twitter if he should post a bad customer service call he had with Comcast. Ultimately he did, and it started a firestorm that ended with a very public apology by Comcast and the possibility that the company might make fundamental changes in how it trains its staff.
That’s a good outcome.
The tweet that started it all.
And then, on July 23, Duff Watson tweeted a complaint about a Southwest Airlines experience at an airport and was booted off the plane for his troubles.
That’s not, generally, what a harried parent wants when he’s traveling with kids in tow.
Watson deleted his original tweet, which called out the gate agent by name.
So how do you complain effectively on Twitter?
I asked the king of customer service complaints, Frank Eliason, for advice. Frank was the guy behind the Twitter account @comcastcares from 2008 to 2010. He was a fixer. If Comcast wasn’t working right for you, a tweet to @comcastcares would generally elicit a pleasant response from Frank, followed by his earnest attempts to work the Comcast system for you. I resorted to tweeting to this account once and was amazed by Frank’s careful handling of my issue. It turned around my opinion about Comcast overnight.
Read More: The Secret of JetBlue’s Social Media Success (from Yahoo Travel)
Frank has since moved on from Comcast. He’s written a book about customer service, @Your Service, he’s working at another company, and he’s done consulting on customer service since leaving Comcast. But he’s still the man: The one guy who, for a while, made Comcast seem almost human. I recommend following his customer service writing on LinkedIn.
Here’s his advice on how customers — you and I — can use Twitter effectively.
Tip 1: Evaluate. Is your complaint valid?
Not every perceived slight makes for a valid complaint. Eliason said a lot of people complain about simple misunderstandings. Before you fire a shot, he said, take a step back and evaluate your position.