Monday, September 8, 2008

Twitter As A CRM Tool

BusinessWeek: A single Twitter message sent by a person with thousands of followers can hold tremendous sway, says BusinessWeek. As such, brands are increasingly following influential users of the microblogging service. Think about it: A negative tweet about a product or service can be read nearly instantly by hundreds of thousands of people. But a positive interaction with a representative of the brand or service provider can also help change the influential person's perspective.
The likes of JetBlue, Comcast, and H&R Block have all recognized Twitter's potential in providing customer service, the report says, adding that tools like Tweetscan and Summize (now simply known as Twitter's search tool) make it easy to follow what's being said about any brand. It's also free.
But not all Twitter users want corporate America following them. "It has potential for delivering business value, clearly, but at the same time there are some risks," says Ray Valdes, a Gartner research director, who adds that brands monitoring Twitter users can come across as "a little creepy." However, in some cases, the right follow-up message can earn them a second chance, as one Southwest customer found out after his flight was delayed and his luggage was lost. After tweeting his displeasure, Southwest sent him the following message: "Sorry to hear about your flight -- weather was terrible in the NE. Hope you give us a 2nd chance to prove that Southwest = Awesomeness." Later, in a blog post, the user called the message both "cool and frightening at the same time."

Wait, wait! The article mentions William Shatner? Can we bring it back to him? Is HE using Twitter?
Sadly not really. However the article does mention someone spotted Mr Shatner on a JetBlue fight and tweeted it.

Twitter is a great platform for companies and people (aka consumers) if used in a way that doesn't resemble ADHD. Sometimes I wonder how people get any work done using twitter all day. And I have no doubt that most brands will pick up this or a similar type of technology to bolster their customer service platforms.

The article does mention that those at the helm of these companies or marketing departments are in control of these Twitter accounts, but doesn't focus at all on how important that is. Realising as a consumer that you are contacting someone who really knows what they're talking about and someone who can actually help you is huge. These Twitter honchos have real control and can correct if something isn't working.

Isn't it amusing that I mention these people can really correct it, I don't feel that way at all about customer service peeps:
a) Because they still seem so inhuman and are reading out of a manual
b) They're really at the lowest rungs of the company and I doubt give more than 2 shits about their company
c) They really can't make any decisions outside their authorised standard set of solutions

What this means is that in 6 months, when everyone else has caught on and hundreds of companies are involved on Twitter
1. It will no longer be the head honchos you're speaking to (unless they follow the Zappos model)
2. It will be like everything else, something new will come along and we'll jump on that bandwagon.

Oh Denny, you're so great. Please Tweet for me.

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