The Power of Twitter to Resolve Poor Customer Service

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Twitter is a great tool for sharing content and to follow your friends, celebrities, sports teams, and whatever other interests you may have.  But, there is an even more important use of Twitter that many are not aware of.

Twitter is a great tool for keeping track of friends and family , as well as your interests – sports teams and athletes, entertainers, airlines, hotels, and products you like.  However, Twitter is also a fantastic method of resolving customer service issues.

Hertz

In March, I was visiting family and running a Spartan Sprint race in North Carolina.  They live about 75 minutes from the airport, so we rent a car rather than bother them with wasting so much time and gas picking us up.

I’ve driven the road to the airport so many times, I should be able to do it in my sleep.  However, this time, I had a massive brain fart and ended up taking a different route and ended up on a new toll road.  With the advances in technology and efforts to keep costs down, there was no option to pay the toll at a booth.  Instead, you are billed automatically to the address on the license plate.

As is mentioned above, we were driving a rental car, so paying that way was not an option for us.  When we dropped off the car, I brought up our situation to the attendant who assured us it wouldn’t be a problem.

Well, of course it wasn’t their problem….it was mine.

Not only did I receive a charge on my card from Hertz for the toll, I was charged $4.95 a day for the luxury of paying for the tolls…  We were on a 4 day rental, so driving on one toll road, one day, cost us over $20!

As a Hertz Club Gold member, I called the special line.  They said that they had nothing to do with the issue because Hertz contracts with a third party to handle tolls.  When I called them to plead my case, they said there was nothing that they could do for me.  I protested and demanded to speak with a supervisor, who had to call me back because she was “unavailable.”

In the meantime, I took to Twitter and tagged Hertz’s customer service team asking for help.

Power of Twitter - Hertz tweet

They responded almost immediately (within 5 minutes!!!) and well before I received the phone call back from the toll company.

Power of Twitter - Hertz response

Through Twitter Direct Messaging, I sent them my rental details.

Power of Twitter - Hertz response DM

They not only waived the daily fees, they went above and beyond and actually waived the toll as well.  Now, that is customer service!

Power of Twitter - Hertz response DM goodwill

I made sure to let them know that I will remain a loyal Hertz Gold member and looked forward to renting from Hertz again.

They’re much more willing to take care of you if they know that the fix will make you happy and they’ll retain your business.  If they think you’ll no longer be a customer, what’s their incentive to make you happy?

Intuit TurboTax

After doing my own taxes for years and years using TurboTax, I decided that my situation is complicated enough and I value my time enough to have a CPA do my taxes for me.  My Mom is another situation…  She’s retired and has very little income – Social Security, Veteran’s Disability from my deceased father, and some IRA distributions.  In reality, only the Social Security and IRA factored into her taxes, so her taxes were simple enough to use Intuit’s free online version of TurboTax.

I wrote an article about my experience using the “free” online TurboTax.  In short, what should have been free turned into a $75 expense…with options presented asking to spend another $75, for a total of $150.

Needless to say, I was less than thrilled with the “bait and switch” that I was presented with, so I made sure to tag Intuit TurboTax when I posted the blog link.

Power of Twitter - TurboTax

Again, with the power of Twitter, Intuit’s customer service team responded withing 12 hours…

Power of Twitter - TurboTax response

I gave them specific details to identify me…

Power of Twitter - TurboTax response DM

… and they provided a full refund of the $75 charges!

Power of Twitter - TurboTax refund

Recommendation

I recommend being fair and factual in your Tweets, without divulging any personal information until you are directed to a Direct Message or an email address for customer service.  Even then, do be careful with what and how you disclose personal details because there is still an opportunity for fraud – you don’t want to make a bad situation worse!

As with any dealings with people online or over the phone, be cautious with information such as Social Security numbers, Drivers License and Passport info, bank account or credit card numbers, date of birth, etc.

Conclusion

In the old days, whenever there was a customer service situation, your best bet was to write a letter and/or call customer service and pray that you would reach someone with a heart and common sense enough to properly address your concerns to make the customer happy and retain the relationship.  Unfortunately, when you try this today, many times these efforts are met with unsympathetic and/or powerless customer service agents who do not resolve the situation.

Because these Twitter messages reach the masses of not only your followers, but also the followers of the company in question and anyone focused on those hashtags, smart companies are placing their best and most tech-savvy customer service representatives on Twitter duty.


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4 COMMENTS

    • I agree Holly. It can be difficult sometimes to find someone who will “own” the problem, but I’ve had pretty good results so far. If nothing else, there’s always a little satisfaction knowing that others are aware of your problems with that vendor that may make them reconsider doing business with them in the future.

  1. Ah, I know this toll road you speak of. I work right next to it! It gets people all of the time. I think it is stupid they handle this way, but the people who came up with these ideas are less than bright.

    I use twitter all of the time when things are going wrong. I just did the same today with Time Warner after my internet was out for 5 hours. One tweet and two DMs and all of the sudden my internet was back on!

    • I understand the desire to automate things, but there needs to be a better way of handling the tolls for out-of-town visitors. Worst thing about it is, with the increased automation, there go more stable jobs for the economy. Congrats on winning the battle with Time Warner! Twitter is a great tool for getting action. I just received a $15 store credit from Domino’s because I complained about waiting almost 30 minutes in the store for my pizza to be made. MUCH better than the old school method of writing letters!

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