Most of you probably know about Twitter already, but in case you don’t, it’s basically “a social networking and microblogging service which enables its users to send and read other users’ messages called tweets.” (Wiki) Sounds kinda useless when put like that, but the truth is that it is kind of addicting, with some people staying on and using it all day long.
However, as much as I enjoy using it to promote my posts (my handle names are @mytwodollars for this site and @thegoodhuman for my other site) and talk to my friends, I have discovered much more useful ways to use Twitter – for resolving customer service issues and to save money. A year ago I wrote about using Twitter to resolve an issue I had with my Comcast service and a problem I encountered when renting a moving van from U-Haul. Both were readily tended to once their Twitter reps got back in touch with me, and I have heard many stories from other friends that they have had customer service complaints handled quickly because of Twitter. But last week I turned to the online world for help setting up service with a new cable and internet provider – and I was blown away at just how responsive they were and how much money it saved me!
To use my latest experience as an example, if you are like most people, when you want new cable TV service, you head to the company website and sign up online. You may even call the customer service phone number to get service; these are the common ways that the majority of customers sign up. However, because I have had good luck with service through Twitter, I took to the online airwaves and found the Twitter handle for Charter Cable. Any company worth their salt are now using Twitter to communicate with customers, so the names should be readily available on their website. I put out a call to their rep that I was interested in cable TV and internet service, but that I wasn’t thrilled with a few things in their offers on their site. Within 20 minutes, someone got back to me, and we began to communicate through Twitter and then finally on the phone. I said I wasn’t happy that most of their “special offers” were only for 6 months – so I got an even better offer than they publicly offered for a full 12 months. I also said I wasn’t too happy with the installation charge, so I got that waived. I even got free DVR service! Within 1 hour of putting out the call, I had an installation date, a better cable/internet package than one I could have gotten signing up on my own, and a much lower monthly rate as well. Score!
Once I am settled in my new house next week, I plan on using Twitter to contact my mom’s cable company to get her ridiculously high monthly rate cut down to something a little more reasonable. She has been a long time customer of theirs and has never bothered to call them to ask for a discount, and now that there are alternatives in her neighborhood I am willing to bet that they will give her some money off her rate if I can ask the right people. Maybe you should do the same?
Twitter, while a fun social-networking site, has also become a valuable customer service tool. Smart companies are starting to use it as a contact point with their customers, and as I always say, it never hurts to ask for a discount, especially if you can find the right people and/or method to ask!