Three Ways to Use Twitter to Complain About Bad Customer Service

Complaining about a bad customer experience with a business used to be so easier. 1-800 customer service numbers were answered quickly, with a happy customer service representative on the other end ready to listen to your concerns. Now, both 800 numbers and live customer service reps are hard to find. Thankfully many companies, ranging from Forbes 500 to local small businesses, are opening up social media channels to not only promote their brand but listen to their customers.

Many of these businesses are using Twitter. This is a great place to turn, as a consumer with a problem, when no one else in the company will listen to you let alone resolve your issue. Here are three ways to use Twitter to complain about a bad experience:

1. Tweet at the company. The easiest way to tweet at a company is to “mention” them specifically. Google the company name along with the word “twitter” – one of the first search results should be their twitter account. Then, create a tweet that starts with “@(companyname)” and then briefly sum up your problem. Tip: be as specific, yet courteous as possible. The goal is to get a response.

2. Talk about the company in a tweet. Many companies – especially the bigger brands, like Comcast, run programs like CoTweet that search for any mention of their company name in tweets. While you may not actually talk “to” them, mentioning their name in a complaint that you tweet may grab their attention and elicit a response, either to via a tweet, or Direct Message (if you’re following them.)

3. Find the personal Twitter accounts of owners and executives of a company. A great app that can search the profiles of Twitter to find influential executives on Twitter is Twello – just search for the company with the word “exec” or “executive” – or any specific title you are looking for.  Then, repeat #1. Although the complaint-to-representaive ratio is still low in social media channels, some companies, like Starbucks, are still overwhelmed, and you will be better served by also and/or tweeting with a “real” person.

Don’t forget to use these same three steps to praise a company for great service. It’s easy to forget that there are real people behind the tweets who like the occasional kudos just as much as you do.

Ever used Twitter to complain about your experience with a business or brand? Did it work?

Article Written by

Kelly Clay, author of Blog Without Boundaries, is a freelance writer and lifestyle advisor.

  • Richard Hay

    I have used Twitter to reach out to companies when I was having a bad experience offline. It can be quite effective.

    Once was relating to Comcast and the Comcast cares folks responded quickly and had info within 20 minutes about the situation.

    Another time was with FEDEX and a package delivery that looked like it was not going to happen. Again, very quickly I had someone reply, check on my delivery and assure me it was going to arrive on the scheduled delivery day.

    One last example was with CompUSA after I received a defective item. They replied via Twitter within about 30 mins and we ultimately squared everything away including a 100% refund including shipping costs.

    In all three cases I eventually tweeted about my satisfaction with the replies and experience so negative beginnings ended in positive responses for the companies.

    In two of these situations I was looking for info and received it. An informed customer is someone who is not constantly talking about the unknown issues.

    I think twitter has greatly expanded our ability to interact with companies on a level we have never had before. The smart companies are engaged in Social Media because that is right where there customers are.

    Great article!

  • Nathan Eisenberg

    The comcastcares folks on twitter are a fantastic example of next-gen service.

    I got shut off for overusage once on a Friday (I download huge backups from work often), and the local rep wouldn’t turn me on until Monday, leaving me offline for a weekend.

    I tweeted about it, and was back online an hour later.

    Now, I should never have been shut off in the first place, but it says a lot when at least part of a company cares that much.

  • drmike

    I tried via Twitter to get Bruegger’s to deal with a bad customer service experience after no follow up via their webform. They didn’t follow up with the twitter either.

  • Appleinfoexpert

    Well your right Chris, consumers want experience but Apple is headed in another direction than any othen any other tablets. And plus there nothing better than the iPad 2 CPU it fast really faster than any android tablets.

  • Terry the B

    “Ultimately, the consumer wants an experience.” Truer words were never spoken! Specs are not it. WebOS just might be a contender – HP really does focus on the consumer’s experience now.

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  • Dan Rudder

    When you convert miles to feet, you do not get square feet at that point!

  • Joeri Van Dingenen

    There are alternatives to iTunes…Example:…Or google:

  • Mrk

    IPad2 still a why pad if you ask me…..
    Why people are willing to overpay for the
    Apple logo is beyond me