The Psychology of people using Twitter as a customer service channel
Blimey, now there is a title to a blog post that I never thought I would use. Before everyone gets their knickers in a twist, I am certainly not a psychologist [ even had an issue spelling psychologist] and do not pretend to be one, but I have been around Twitter for well over 4 years, so have seen a lot of Twitter behaviour. In this blog post I wanted to talk about some of the behaviour that surrounds people using Twitter to contact businesses re customer service issues / complaints, help/ questions and so on..
I think this is important for brands to understand as it then should assist them with prioritising who to contact and in which order. I would love it if they contacted everyone, but back in the real world, this is just not possible.
The 1st thing to look at is the style of the Tweet. There are 3 options:- [ for this example I will use Sainsburys & a situation that I have made up. Although being out of Haribo Tangfastics is a huge deal for me]
1. @sainsburys I visited your store in Barnet and it had run out of Haribo Tangfastics.. Why was that?
2. I visited @sainsburys store in Barnet and it had run out of Haribo Tangfastics.. Why was that?
3. I cant believe it. I visited Sainsburys store in Barnet and it had run out of Haribo Tangfastics.. Why was that?
What is also important is to understand who sees what..
In version1, the only people that automatically see that message are me, @sainsburys and anyone that follows me and @sainsburys, so could only be a few. In version2. I have mentioned @sainsburys, so they will see it, I will see it and ALL of my followers will see it. And in version3, This is just a standard Tweet that all of my followers will see, @sainsburys will only get to see it if they are using a search to find people using their actual name ie Sainsburys.
Here is what I think….[from a customer point of view]
In version1. I have addressed my tweet correctly using their twitter username and clearly aimed it at them. To me that is because I would like and expect a reply. To me this is no different than phoning their call centre. There is no element of grandstanding the message ie highlighting the issue to all of my followers. I simply would like to know the answer to my question. If I don’t receive a reply then people often then go to version 2 as a way to escalate things from my point of view.
In version 2, I have escalated my message by making sure that all of my followers get to see me asking the question as well. I may have done this for my own self importance, because I don’t know better, or because I feel that by doing the message in this way, there will be a greater chance of a reply from @sainsburys as they may now think, Hold on this guy has 16,000 followers best to answer him, or they may think, Hold on, he only has 16,000 followers, my mum has more so no need to worry.
Personally, I feel that most people adopt version 2 as their way of flexing a bit of muscle against the Corporate giant. They are saying, you need to take me seriously because of my large following so best answer me or I may well blog next, then do the customary YouTube video and so on. My aim is to get public anger and opinions on my side, so that they are forced to help me as what started out as a simple question, has now turned into a potential massive PR disaster.
I have seen so many issues that started off with version 1. perhaps even tweeting the same tweet several times which was ignored. Then having no resolution, bang, out come the big guns with version2. Simply dealing with version1. quickly and professionally may well have headed off anymore actions.
In version 3 this is not addressed to @sainsburys. This to me is a tweet that is just letting off steam. I want my followers to know about it but really am not looking for a reply. I just wanted everyone to know.
What do you think? Do you use Twitter to complain / ask question /seek assistance from Businesses? Did you use a different style of tweet to get a reply / response etc.. Am I talking bollocks? Please feel free to comment in the box below, be great to hear your thoughts.
Please note a bag of Haribo Tangfastics was consumed whilst writing this blog post and I am in no way suggesting that Sainsburys are out of stock of them.