7 May, 2013 13:09

The power of twitter

Today I offer some thoughts on the use of twitter by the irate consumer, based on two personal examples.

I have found the tweet an effective and speedy way of drawing attention to a problem, and in the case of a large organisation it enables the consumer to complain about a local outlet directly to the head office.

The first example was when I tweeted while leaving a branch of Massmart subsidiary Makro, where I had wanted to buy a cheap digital camera, but had been ignored by the one salesman on duty, who regarded his lengthy phone chat as far more important than the consumer in front of him.

A tweet mentioning the CEO of Massmart Grant Pattison received an almost immediate response, and Grant himself contacted me and tried to retain me as a customer, even though he was travelling elsewhere in Africa at the time.

And excellent and impressive response.

More recently, the service, or lack thereof, at my local Pick n Pay liquor store left me empty handed and fuming, so again I went on twitter, mentioning the supermarket chain.

Speedily I was contacted by the consumer relations people, and within 24 hours I had received a call from the store manager who explained the problems he was encountering, but promised to put things right.

I am not suggesting that we should bombard people with tweets mentioning trivial issues, but if like me you have left a store annoyed and frustrated, this may be one of the best ways of dealing with a problem, and getting in touch with those in a position to put things rights.

Companies do not want their brand soiled by poor service and peeved customers, and should listen when problems are raised in a public forum like twitter.

And on occasion it might also be worth sharing a truly impressive experience in a store – the next time you are able to leave the place in jubilation and delight.

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