What companies provide great/useful customer service via Twitter?
September 26, 2016 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Can you give me examples of companies providing timely, useful customer service via Twitter?

Whenever my power goes out at home I tweet @eversourceMA with my town and street and within a minute they provide me with an accurate estimate of when they expect service to return. This is an amazingly useful service that they provide. I don't have to go to a web page and fill out a form, I don't have to send an email that will never be answered, I don't have to wait on hold for an hour. I send a quick tweet and I get a response.

What other companies provide services like this via Twitter? Have you had a problem solved quickly via a company's twitter feed? I'm not talking about the automatic "We're sorry this happened, please DM us!" responses you get if you put [company] and "sucks" in the same tweet, but actual useful service? It can be automated or provided by an actual human, as long as it helps.

I ask because I suspect I could be taking advantage of other services but I still don't always think "I could use Twitter for this" when I have a problem to solve.
posted by bondcliff to Technology (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had an issue with T-Mobile last summer. A phone was broken that we insured through them. We filed a claim and returned the dead phone using the padded envelope they sent. Somehow, it never arrived, and we were charged a $450 fee. I spent hours and hours with customer service for both T-Mobile and Assurant, but got nowhere. I was told we were stuck with the fee. I turned to T-Mobile on Twitter and they agreed to refund it on our next bill.

I'm not sure why the Twitter team is so responsive, but my guess is that they figure if you are on Twitter you might be socially media savvy enough to cause them a headache that's worth more than their $450.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:35 AM on September 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

Starbucks once jumped in to resolve a WiFi issue in one of there local stores via Twitter for me. Also, I don't know if it counts as one-on-one customer service, but our local power company, CWLP, does a great job of interacting with customers via Twitter in cases of power outages.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 11:37 AM on September 26, 2016

This is not a personal experience, but it was new info to me: Last week I was at a conference where a rep for American Airlines and a rep for the TSA talked about the customer service partnership they have. American has a goal of answering every customer service complaint on Twitter within one hour. They also capture the FF number of every person who tweets at them so they can track that person's satisfaction over time. Further, TSA shares misdirected American complaint data with American so the American passenger who complains to TSA doesn't get lost in the shuffle or remain unknown to American. It was implied that more frequent the Twitter complaint, the more attentive American would be to that customer.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 11:38 AM on September 26, 2016

Whenever I move and want a home install to go not-shitty, I tweet Comcast and do my best 'about-to-slander-you-everywhere-on-social-media' impression which usually nets me a personal handler and a slightly better experience. I'm not sure this is an example of good twitter service, though - just 'less bad'.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:39 AM on September 26, 2016

Speaking of TSA, you can tweet @askTSA if you have questions about whether or not you can carry on an item onboard, and they will respond in a timely fashion.
posted by jaksemas at 11:41 AM on September 26, 2016

I got actual good customer service from Comcast, of all companies. I wanted to cancel my cable, but not my internet, and it turns out you need to get through 9 phone trees to reach an office that is open from 3:30 to 5:30 Eastern on alternating tuesdays or somesuch. I tweeted at Comcast griping about this, was referred to an "escalation customer service" rep who contacted me first through a DM and then by phone, solved my problem and then discounted my internet service.

I've also had good customer service from Marriott when I tweeted a photo of the bathroom door in my hotel that had obviously been kicked in once and repaired. A pile of additional Marriott points, IIRC.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:43 AM on September 26, 2016

- GreenMountainPower in VT has an amusing and informative tweet stream when things are good and they are GREAT with notifications when there's an outage, major or minor.
- I actually got a problem solved with the MA RMV over twitter, no lie. It still amazes me.
- Medium Support is useful for giving and getting feedback though usually what they say is "We're not adding that feature" likewise tinyletter.
- I found Apple Support not terribly useful. Same with AirBnB. Same with Amtrak and American Airlines.
- I've also had that "You are on my last nerve" tweet = personal handler experience with Fairpoint (local DSL provider)

I find for a lot of companies that are web native (i.e. they make apps or whatever) they have a support person actually ON twitter. And for products that aren't terrible, or which are new, that support person may actually have some free time to help with things. I also have the verified checkmark which may affect the responses I get.
posted by jessamyn at 11:47 AM on September 26, 2016

We purchased something from ThinkGeek that broke, and repeated emails to their customer service email just got canned responses. One post on Twitter (possibly helped by a photo of my son holding said object making his saddest sad face) and it we had a replacement thing within 48 hours.
posted by anastasiav at 11:57 AM on September 26, 2016

> my guess is that they figure if you are on Twitter you might be socially media savvy enough to cause them a headache that's worth more than their $$$.

What he said.

I had a fantastic series of failures in trying to get a washer and dryer delivered by Sears - rampant confusion between what part of the online order was handled by the local store, what part by a regional depot, who had what in stock, what parts were even needed, etc. Finally I tweeted at SearsCares and within minutes had a response from someone on the "Chairman's customer satisfaction team", whatever that means. They actually followed through and sorted it out pretty well. And I'm not even a power user of Twitter.

Also, if you have a juicy scientific result and want to talk to science journalists about an upcoming press release, Twitter is a great way to get their attention.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:01 PM on September 26, 2016

My old Internet provider, CenturyLink, had abysmal phone/email support, but great Twitter support. They even helped me work through a very wonky iOS device DNS issue that phone/email/chat support couldn't even begin to understand. The only problem was Twitter support was only open during normal business hours, so you had to wait a while for a response.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:02 PM on September 26, 2016

I almost hate to say this, but Citibank has great customer service via Twitter. I once had a weird, pretty major issue and Tweeted at them about it; a customer rep actually wound up calling me about it and we were able to resolve the issue.
posted by holborne at 12:06 PM on September 26, 2016

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Seriously. I messaged them with a complex issue I was having with renewing my DL from the UK and they DMed me to help. The person on the other end even alerted other departments to watch out for my email and my issue was resolved pretty promptly.

If you look at their "tweets and replies" you can see they are asking people with issues to DM them their phone number so they can call them to resolve the problem!
posted by vacapinta at 12:27 PM on September 26, 2016

It's not exactly customer service, more like PR, but I've had amazing experiences with Kimpton Hotels and Torchy's Tacos on Twitter. When I tweeted that I'd used my entire Kimpton minibar credit on gum during one visit, they mailed me a gift basket of gum for my birthday! And when I missed the grand opening of my local Torchy's due to chemo treatments they asked for my address and sent me swag and gift certificates. Both businesses have a customer for life.
posted by MsMolly at 12:29 PM on September 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been surprised with Ting (cellphone), XcelEnergy (electricity, if you live near me and love those sweet atoms) and my credit union. I know it's a cube farm of 25 year olds, but they seem helpful.
posted by Sphinx at 12:30 PM on September 26, 2016

Delta is very responsive and actually does things over twitter. Answers are oddly fast too.
posted by chasles at 12:45 PM on September 26, 2016

Twitter Dashboard uses their own product to find people talking about having issues on Twitter Dashboard, and devs reach out to them directly. Thought that was pretty cute!
posted by Juliet Banana at 1:20 PM on September 26, 2016

I'm not talking about the automatic "We're sorry this happened, please DM us!" responses you get if you put [company] and "sucks" in the same tweet, but actual useful service? It can be automated or provided by an actual human, as long as it helps.
Not quite the slick automated query/response system you're looking for, but I did experience some impressive human interaction precipitated by Twitter:

Last year when I found myself going round and around in a Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare with the state-run healthcare exchange here in Massachusetts, I called out my state Senator, the health exchange, and the Governor's Office in a single tweet. @MassGovernor told me to DM them with more info, and quickly responded to me with the phone number for the Governor's constituent services office. The number was promptly answered by a human being who caused somebody's cage to be rattled hard enough that I got a call from a slightly higher level bureaucrat at the health exchange within a couple of hours.

(The health exchange also did the "Too bad so sad, DM us" thing, and I did, but given the indifference and incompetence I encountered at every level of that organization I'm quite confident that I would never have heard from them again if I hadn't called the Governor's office. Never got any sort of response from my Senator.)
posted by usonian at 1:56 PM on September 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Had an issue with Chromecast not playing nice with Netflix. Put in tickets with both Netflix and Chromecast with no luck for a week. Finally tweeted at Chromecast who responded in 30s saying it was a known issue they were working on.

Two days later the updates pushed to the apps, and it started working. The great customer service part was a follow up tweet a few days after that asking if things were working.
posted by lownote at 2:50 PM on September 26, 2016

posted by trillian at 5:06 PM on September 26, 2016

I once got customer service via Twitter before I was even a customer!

I tweeted that it had been a hard day and nobody had given me a gold medal or even a pizza. Next thing I knew, my local Papa John's had replied offering me a pizza.

Now that's service!
posted by mermaidcafe at 10:48 AM on September 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

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