American Public Media's Marketplace recently aired an interesting story on NPR about tweeting to complain. When you think of Twitter, you probably think of a younger generation thumbing away at their mobile phones telling their friends where they are and what they are doing in 140 characters or less. I admit, it is a fascinating phenomenon. However, more and more people of all ages are using Twitter to complain.
There are many reasons why people complain and why they are successful complaining on Twitter. People complain for the following reasons:
- Complaining to vent
- Complaining to a response
- Complaining to get a result
Complaining to vent
Sometimes you just need to vent. To complain just to get it off of your chest. It feels good. There is probably some psychological benefit to just venting...but I'm not a doctor. Twitter is perfect for anyone who needs to complain just to vent. Twitter is like a room with millions of people talking at the same time, so if you complain and get something off of your chest...it just feels good knowing that a few people around you heard it and then you can leave. No harm done. Success. Sigh.
Complaining to get a response
Sometimes venting just isn't enough, you actually need to get a response of some sort. It doesn't even have to be a resolution...just a response. Then you know you have been heard and your wrath has been felt. Twitter makes this possible by allowing responses to get directly back to the original tweeter. So when someone reads a tweet and agrees they can "retweet" it or respond to you. Many companies are just now figuring out how to determine when a response is necessary, and when they do respond, in many cases the customer feels better knowing they were heard. Sometimes a "we're sorry" goes a long way on Twitter. Thank you. Sigh.
Complaining to get a result
More and more people are finding success on Twitter for those times that we want to complain and get a result. Twitter makes this useful because you can complain directly to the company using the @ sign, like @incontact would show up right in the inContact stream for someone to see. Also, you can tag the message with # hashtags that categorize a message like #flyingsucks. Those categories are also watched and tracked by those companies that find complaining customers there. When the complaint requires a response, customer service organizations are no longer wary of responding directly and helping these customers out. They are treated just as though they called the contact center for help. Nice. Success. Sigh.
This method of customer service is becoming more important because when someone is having a service problem they aren't always picking up the phone. Sometimes they take their issues to Twitter. Are you there listening?