Twitter is becoming the new call center, with customers tweeting to companies to voice their complaints, comments and questions. But in order to get an answer, you’ve got to know how to make your 140-character concerns stand out from the crowd and grab their attention.
It’s not enough to just send out a tweet complaining that your last rental car smelled like old cheese. Whichever company you rented it from probably won’t hear you, and if they do, they’re even less likely to respond.
Although some companies have sophisticated listening posts set up across Twitter to catch any mention of their name or even industry, most don’t. So it’s up to you to reach out to them if you want to be heard.
First, you’ve got to find the specific Twitter handle of the company you’re complaining about. Do a little Googling and searching on Twitter.com for their name, and you should find it in a few minutes. Also, double check to see if they have a dedicated customer service Twitter account: Comcast, for instance, uses @COMCAST for company news and branding, while @comcastcares is dedicated to customer service and support. You’d be more likely to get a response if you tweeted to the latter.
Next, decide how public you want this complaint to be. You have two options when tweeting to the company: you could do an @reply, starting with their username at the beginning of your tweet, and ensure that the tweet is only seen in the timelines of the two of you and whoever follows both of you; or you could send them an @mention, putting their username anywhere in the body of the tweet, so that all of your followers see it. It’s up to you.
When writing the actual tweet, be sure to include the most shocking or interesting bit of information. Since you only have 140 characters to work with, you’ll want to catch the attention of the company (and anyone listening) right off the bat.
If you’ve got a particularly detailed story to tell, you might want to write a blog post about it and link to it in your tweet. Just make sure you put in the most eye-catching detail in the tweet itself so it actually gets read.
You also have the option to tag other account in the tweet, in order to raise the profile of the complaint. Think about who might be interested in this story – prominent journalists, consumer advocacy groups, local politicians. If you include one or two interested parties, the company is more likely to respond to all of you.
And lastly, make sure you’re monitoring your own @mentions folder to see when the company responds. It doesn’t do you any good to complain and then not hear the response! And if you don’t hear back in about 48 hours, you can send a reminder tweet that they still haven’t replied to your original tweet.
Have you ever complained to a company via Twitter? We’d love to hear how it went in the comments below!
(Businessman getting complaint image via Shutterstock)