This is a story of how two companies responded to my Tweets.
I had a problem with the new Argos website. I was finding it somewhat difficult to work out how to reserve an item for pickup at my Winchester store. Irritated I tweeted 'Oh @Argos why did you have to change your website and make it so difficult to use?' You'll notice the '@Argos' which makes sure it goes to their Twitter feed.
When my wife and I were in WestQuay on a Sunday, there was a live event and the music was shockingly loud, so loud we couldn't hear ourselves talk over what should have been a relaxing coffee. So I tweeted 'Awful deafening drumming at @WestQuay ruining shopping experience'.
Since both only had to check their Twitter accounts to see these Tweets, what's interesting is how the companies responded. Argos replied within minutes to say they were sorry to hear that and could they help.
WestQuay... well they didn't respond, not even the next day. Not ever. They could have explained that this a Chinese New Year celebration and was only going to last a few minutes. They could have expressed some sympathy. They could have simply said 'Sorry'.
Does it matter? Yes and here's why. I was feeling ill disposed to both these companies. Thanks to their speedy sympathetic response, I will continue to buy from Argos. Thanks to the total lack of customer service, I won't be returning to WestQuay if I can avoid it.
I realise Twitter can be seen as a waste of time. If you have an account, you'll know that you get loads of followers who simply want to sell you something. Your tweets get lost in the millions that are posted each day. Even if you're not on Twitter, you know that lots of tweets are written in the heat of the moment, some of them ignorant and abusive.
But. It is a medium for communicating with your customers. If someone is unhappy with a company, they may express their annoyance on Twitter. As with all complaints, it's an opportunity to understand your customer, give them a better service and avoid losing their business. Or not.