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Your company is using Twitter wrong

It’s 2014; if your company sells users a service and doesn’t already have a social media presence then you should stop reading this and fix that. Right now.

Okay, now you have a social media team. However, I would bet that they aren’t helping your brand image when the sh*t hits the fan. I’m going to cite examples of bad and good responses from companies I follow on Twitter:

Recently WIND Mobile (@WINDmobile) suffered from a service interruption on their network. Here’s how they responded to annoyed customers:

WIND Mobile Twitter responses to annoyed users during the service disruption

WIND Mobile Twitter responses to annoyed users during the service disruption

I’m not sure if this was a Twitter bot posting replies to users, or a CSR who just really likes to copy and paste things. Either way, it provides users with no information whatsoever on the cause of the disruption (ie., why they’re annoyed and Tweeting at WIND Mobile) and it reeks of a form letter beginning with “Dear VALUED CUSTOMER,”

Users want information on a disruption, they don’t want to feel like a wallet that is forced to give your company money every month and only gets form letters in response. The more information you supply to users, the happier they will be. Selfnet e.V. (@Selfnet_eV) is an ISP at a German university. Their twitter feed is perhaps a little more casual than that of a large corporation, but I think it still provides a good example of what kind of feedback a company should be providing users:

Selfnet eV Twitter response to a service disruption

Selfnet eV Twitter response to a service disruption

Teksavvy (@TeksavvyCSR) suffered from a network disruption, and here’s how they dealt with it:

Teksavvy Twitter response to an outage

Teksavvy Twitter response to a service disruption

Notice the difference between the response from Teksavvy and Selfnet e.V., and the response from WINDmobile? Teksavvy made a limited number of replies to people, and posted a link to their website where users could see status updates on the outage. As another user noted, their customer service representatives were also posting updates to Reddit on the progress being made toward restoring service:

UPDATE. Looks like a MUX card issue at 151. Rogers just tried to re-seat it but no luck. They are currently working on alternatives.

My point here isn’t to bash WINDmobile. Service providers have a tough job, users have an expectation that the availability of the network will be 100% and when things aren’t working they quickly become annoyed. But, there is a huge difference between giving users canned responses and no details about an outage or the progress toward restoring service, and actively working to update users, even if doing so doesn’t shorten the time to resolution.

If you notice that your company is giving users canned responses, it’s time to re-think how you are approaching social media platforms. Users come to platforms like Twitter and Facebook to get answers, if they want canned responses they’ll call your customer support line and listen to the phone menu and hold messages that endlessly repeat “Due to higher than normal call volume, all customer service representatives are currently busy. Your call is important to us, please continue to hold.”

I would like to clarify that I am not currently a customer of any of the companies mentioned above. I was formally a customer of Teksavvy and WINDmobile. I am no longer a customer because I moved out of their service region.