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DOC-518 Is Twitter for You?


By Karl Hentschel, MCCS

The old adage "if you make one customer unhappy he tells five friends" has to be revised in this age of social media. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, allegedly once said, "You know, if you make a customer unhappy they won't tell five friends, they'll tell 5,000 friends".
Large companies are starting to turn to Twitter to get closer to their customers (see Figure 1). They realize that customers dictate the time and medium of conversation. Customers prefer real time interaction rather than carefully prepared and rehearsed responses.

What is Twitter?

For the uninitiated: Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets". Essentially, users send short text messages. Unlike texting though, which is limited to use on cell phones and mobile enabled devices, tweets also reach non-mobile terminals such as PCs, laptops, tablets, and anything connected to the Internet.

The attraction of Twitter as a means of communicating between customers and providers is its immediacy. Customers use their smart phone, computer, tablet or other text-input capable device and generate a short message. They don't have to be near a telephone to make a call where they would be placed on hold, or have to stay on the line while someone looks up their customer or account data.

Twitter is not a secure service. It is public. Anyone can search through Twitter to find messages pertaining to a specific company, or see its interactions with their customers using Twitter. So, the use of Twitter invites honest dealings with customers, requiring companies to put their best foot forward.

On the other hand, the option of creating private groups within Twitter exists. Communications within these groups are private unless made public by the account holder.

Private group communications in Twitter are a big plus: a business can use Twitter to communicate to the World its superior customer service, its reasonable responses, its proactive attitude but also to keep proprietary communication out of the public eye. There is one proviso though, whatever is said on Twitter, private or public, will remain on Twitter as with any other social media application, at least as long as the Internet and Twitter exist.

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As always, good information, presented well.
Thanks for all your articles. They are always informative.