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Customer service, 140 characters at a time

It’s no secret that companies are using Twitter for marketing, but are you monitoring tweets for customer service? Last week, I ran into a striking reminder that companies are increasingly taking Twitter seriously, even when I am joking. Let me explain what happened last week when I slept in a Select Comfort Sleep Number bed and tweeted about my experience the next morning. If you aren’t yet using Twitter for customer service, perhaps this experience I had might give you ideas for how to the make the most of Twitter.

Sleep Number Mattress

Image by Eddie~S via Flickr


I was traveling on business (as usual) and stayed in a nicer hotel than I normally do, which happened to feature a Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed. I have back problems, so that should have been welcome, but I was also tired because I got to the hotel quite late, so that meant I wasn’t about to adjust the defaults on my bed—whatever it was set to is what I slept in.
So, you probably guessed what happened next: I woke up the next day with my back really bothering me. I was feeling a bit snarky, so my tweet that morning was, “When you wake up with a bad back after a night in a hotel, blame the hotel bed. But this hotel has a sleep number bed, so is it my fault?”
I wasn’t trying to complain about the bed, honestly. You should see how often I wake up a bit creaky, even when sleeping in my own bed at home. It just struck me as a bit funny, so I tweeted it. And I thought nothing of it until I got this reply from @SleepNumberHelp: “@MikeMoran Hi, I work with SC and I’m sorry you had trouble with the Sleep # bed! You might need a different Sleep #. http://bit.ly/cgB7x4” (and I got that reply not very long after my original tweet, too).
Clearly, my buddies at Select Comfort are actively monitoring any tweets that include keywords such as. “sleep number bed.” They honestly seemed interested in helping me. And, I have to admit, for the first time ever, I am wondering if there might be something to this sleep number thing. If Select Comfort can get this kind of reaction from me, when all I did was toss out a laugh line, how much more do they think it would help if they reached out to those who are serious about their complaints?
Ask yourself what would happen if one of your customers tweeted some dissatisfaction. Would someone of your team find that tweet quickly and ensure that it was responded to? Or would the twitterer get radio silence form your company? If your customer service people don’t monitor Twitter the same way they answer the phone or check e-mail, you’re missing a great opportunity to differentiate your brand from the others.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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