Twitter as customer service…

Surfing the net while having my breakfast on Tuesday, I spotted a banner ad advertising a pre-sale link for BT customers for the Olympic closing concert featuring Blur, The Specials and New Order. ‘Brilliant’ I thought. I’m a BT customer so I’ll just log into my BT account, get my promo code and log in at on Wednesday morning and claim my tickets.

Except of course I had forgotten my password. Now, I have no need to do anything with my BT account. I could remember the username but not the password. So, I went through the forgotten password journey. The prompt asked me for the city of my birth, which I obviously could remember. Then a window popped up, thanking me for completing the form and that a link to reset my password had been sent to my account. Hang on… the same account that I’m unable to get access for?

As I’m sure you can appreciate, I was rather frustrated by this turn of events so I completed a complaints form which informed me that BT would get back to me in 24 hours however it could take as long as 72 hours for them to get back to me. By which time I’m sure I’d be able to get tickets for the concert… on resell sites at vastly inflated prices.

Now, rather than exorcising my frustrations in a fit of post millennial rage on social media, I recalled the origins of how BT’s social media customer service strategy came into effect. If you’re not familiar with the story, BT noticed that a certain Mike Skinner of The Streets fame was complaining on Twitter about how BT offered him such poor service, which was naturally trending and being retweeted across Twitter. BT basically had to decide to respond which actually prompted Mr Skinner to later praise BT for their response. I thought I’d put it to the test:

So, I tweeted the following…

And 4 hours later I received this response…

I clicked the link and was directed  through to a specific Twitter customer service landing page, which asked me to fill out my details, and they’d give me a call back.

I received a call back within the hour, my account was restored on the phone and I was able to get hold of my promo code for tickets, which I was able to purchase this morning.

Now, that should be the end of the story. Happy customer, problem solved. Right? I received a call from a slightly confused customer service rep later on in the afternoon who had finally got round to my original submitted complaint. They could see that some activity had been logged on my account and that there had been a password reset however rather than check internally to see if someone else had followed up on my issue, they chose to call me and have a slightly awkward conversation where I explained that everything was ok.

Lessons to learn: If you’ve got the people to respond on Twitter, it’s a great way of not just responding but publicly demonstrating how responsive you are. However, you’ve got to have synergy across the company to ensure that more than one individual does not pick up the job. Otherwise you end up with a slightly embarrassing conversation with your customers.


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