Learn From Best Buy’s Mistake: Your Twitter Account Is Not An Island

Best Buy is well known for its Twitter-based customer service account @Twelpforce, which is managed by over 3,000 of its employees. However, it’s having some trouble integrating this digital effort into its brick-and-mortar stores.

The Consumerist got its hands on a story of some pretty big discrepancies between its in-store managers and its online customer service.

A Best Buy customer apparently wanted to return a CD set that was missing one of its discs. Without the receipt, however, he turned to @Twelpforce for some help. He was told by this official Best Buy account (which is one of only two ways to reach customer service, the other being by phone):

“Talk to a manager at your local Best Buy, they should be able to assist with exchange.”

The customer went to his local Best Buy and spoke with a manager… who proceeded to dismiss the @Twelpforce Twitter account as unreliable. The manager apparently said that the tweet he was show was “just social media” and said “that could be anybody.”

Anybody, except that it isn’t just anybody. It is an official account that the company endorses as its customer service channel.

If this story is accurate, it means that Best Buy isn’t adequately informing its in-store employees about its social media presence.

A Twitter account is all well and good, but it isn’t an island. It doesn’t stand alone. It needs to be reinforced offline for it to have an impact, and for customers to deem it useful.

If Best Buy wants its Twitter endeavors to be taken seriously, it has to integrate them into its offline stores. And that means informing all employees first about their existence, and second about their level of authority and association with the company.

And this lesson is not for Best Buy alone. Too many small and medium businesses think that social media is something separate from the rest of their marketing and customer service efforts. Social is great, but it isn’t everything. It is only one part of a larger picture that involves your customers, employees and products.

So when brainstorming your next brilliant Twitter campaign, don’t forget to tell your in-store employees that customers asking for a Twitter discount aren’t trying to scam the system.

(Top image: Ilja Mašík via Shutterstock)