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.