Twitter: A social media steam valve

Twitter is like an emotional outburst: Tweets are brief, immediate,  expressive, short-lived and attention getting.

That’s why it’s no surprise that Twitter has become a great tool for customer service.  On any given day, users are bashing and celebrating their favorite brands in 140 characters or less.  Some brands (such as AT&T) are so unpopular at times that they become ‘trending topics’ on Twitter for awhile.

Here are some recent outbursts:

  • andrewalger Is it weird that I am enjoying sending e-mail to @allstate and complaining about their service. I worked in brand strategy on the last one
  • 1meghanlandry: My phone doesnt work between 830 and 330… i im done tweeting till after school:( DONT GET ATT!!!!
  • cjosof: I’m just going to start paying a percentage of my cable bill since I’m getting only a percentage of what I’m currently paying for. Charter.
  • joled: Currently in dunkin donuts in N.J.-worst customer service ever.
  • wendypetty Geico sucks, I need to switch insurance, I’m thinkin progressive…they have good commercials…
  • carabeths123: Nielsen has the worst customer service. So sad.
  • KatieLFunk: @BurgerKing I’ve just had the worst experience ever in Ft Lauderdale Fl You need to work on ur customer service. I’m now eating at McDonalds
  • GULF_FISHING I made a complaint on RIPOFF REPORT about State Farm CEO Ed Rust, Jr emailing out my kids’ full names to strangers.

Customers are increasingly comfortable using social networks as a venting ground for bad experiences.  According to recent research from Euro RSCG Worldwide (via eMarketer), 20 percent of consumers feel that social media is a good environment to ‘lash out about or at companies or their brands.’   This is because social networks provide a modest level of anonymity and a high level of exposure — a combination that can provide immediate satisfaction to frustrated consumers with little risk, or inconvenience.

For marketers, Twitter is a mixed blessing.  It attracts steam — by generating a higher volume of negative sentiment — but negative comments on Twitter also dissipate quickly. Addressing negative comments appropriately, as they arise on Twitter, can  prevent or reduce the likelihood that the same negative sentiments will propagate to longer-living online destinations (blogs,, consumer review sites, local search listing, Google SideWiki, etc.).

Letting dissatisfied customers know that they’ve been heard — and resolving problems or addressing concerns as quickly as possible — goes a long way.

Many dissatisfied critics can be converted into brand advocates with a sincere, prompt and thoughtful company response.

Credits: Angry Tweet image by Aaron Riddle.

Tweeked @ Twitter

Social media sites aren’t immune to criticism. How they choose to respond is often newsworthy. Enjoy this clip!

1 thought on “Twitter: A social media steam valve

  • Thats a lie Twitter retweets news reports & has Tweetees that that do nothing but stream news.This is a tactic to draw in more sers by smarting off to users.don’t fall for this trick.Avoid twitter.Read declining reports since new 7 people support group can’t cut it with real business & most students don’t use cause i ask at 5 schools middle & high in one state.Twitter is bad business venture due to unwarned and unfounded suspended accounts.Also Twitter encourages spamming by accounts that they never suspend for spamming.Because Twitter recieves payouts privately from certain business users.Illegal but over due for exposure.Wait & heed.Don’t use Twitter.Who needs technical assholes for communication problems while conducting onlie business.Nice social media sites & administation sites work too.

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