by March 4, 2011 0 comments

Tweet: #xyz Bank’s ATM is always out of paper so I never get a transaction receipt.

Tweet: #abc airlines provides poor customer service at its check-in counters in Delhi.

Tweet: #axy telecom company hasn’t updated my records in their database despite repeated requests. 

These are examples of tweets sent by hassled customers about the quality of service they were getting from their vendors. Lots of consumers these days are using Twitter to tweet customer service complaints. It’s done by putting a hash tag before the vendor’s name as shown above (e.g. #vodafone, #icici, #sbi, #airtel, #kingfisher, etc). The beauty of hash tags is that anybody can see these tweets, without following anybody.

This is great for consumers. They can judge who else is facing similar problems as them just by going through the tweets. They can choose to avail a vendor’s services based on the level of complaint handling. They don’t have to put up with IVR systems that put them on hold indefinitely, and give forboding messages like their conversation is being recorded for ‘training and quality’ purposes.

This can also be great for vendors as well, to improve their customer services. It can be especially useful for retail companies who are servicing a large number of individual consumers. It becomes a great channel to get true feedback from customers, besides the usual reports from one’s own customer services department. But for it to be effective, companies must assign dedicated manpower to constantly monitor tweets about them.

You can even use it to monitor your competitors’ complaint handling capabilities. Smaller companies can learn from complaints handled by their larger counterparts and improve their own customer service. Ancilliaries for larger companies can use it to inform their clients about customer complaints. ITeS companies like BPOs can offer it as a value added service to their customers.

Handling customer complaints on Twitter however, is not easy. You must be prompt and ensure that negative complaints don’t go unaddressed, else they can impact your brand image. We discovered some renowned companies have bots that send out an automated message every time they come across their hash tag, even if the customer has not a complained. That’s as bad as not responding to a customer query at all.

Lastly, top management management support is a must to make this successful.

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