In Defense of the OOO
July 17, 2013
#MediaMonday – Marlene Montanez
July 22, 2013
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Nothing frustrates me more than excuses for something that is someone else’s fault. Just last week I had a situation with T-Mobile happen where I was over-charged.

Background (the very short version) - I was overcharged $110 and talked on the phone with eight people from T-Mobile who couldn’t help me.

What is it we do now when we are not happy with something?

Take to Twitter of course!

My first Tweet at 7:56 a.m.-- Thanks @tmobile for messing up my bill AGAIN -- I knew this would happen... (Wow- how did I know it would happen again? Either I have special powers or this is a common theme with T-Mobile).

T-Mobile responds on Twitter less than an hour later -- they can help me (Really? Because the first eight people that I talked to did such a good job).

But low and behold they were actually able to help.  They put an immediate credit on my account and (in writing) guaranteed me the price I was quoted.

Sort of amazing that the first eight “customer” service people I talked to via the phone were not emowered to help me but one (ok maybe a few) little Tweet later and I have an immediate solution.

Also intersting was that the common theme I heard at the PRSA Industry Insiders Luncheon yesterday was much about that. I was able to hear from the following great panel:

Debra Stevens, APR, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Laura Collins, Infusionsoft

Deborah Ostreicher, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Michelle Olson, APR, Olson Communications

Doug MacKenzie, Visit Phoenix


But the main points I gathered from the lunch included:

Laura Collins’ statement that “If your customers are taking to social media to complain there is a bigger issue” and I completely agree with this. Had the first SEVEN people I talked to at T-Mobile been able to solve my problem I would not have tweeted.

In addition, Laura stated, “When there are complaints on social media it is not just a marketing/PR problem, it is a customer service problem.”  Not only do I also agree with this, I think it is a new way of thinking for many organizations.

Now, I want to know if you have any examples of customer service interactions you have had on social media both good and bad!

Rachel Brockway
Rachel Brockway
A former HMA Public Relations employee.


  1. Maybe social media has become the new “I’m going to call your boss.” But with more impact.

  2. Joy says:

    I’ve had very similar experiences and completely agree that taking to Twitter (or social media) seems to generate quick resolution. I think regardless of the situation, if my complaint (or praise) is recognized via social media, I feel a little better in that I’m finally being heard. The bonus is when companies actually really care and fix the problem! When this happens, I always make a point to correct the posted frustration from earlier and make sure that anyone else watching the feeds can see my issue has been resolved.

    I dealt with T-Mobile SEVERAL times via their Twitter account and was always treated with respect and my issue resolved quickly. Service on the phone? Forget it. In the store? Yeah, right! I finally had to drop them, though, because when it comes down to it, unless the entire company delivers that same type of service, I would rather not have anything to do with them.

    On the same note, I’ve dealt with other large AND small companies and can promise you that the positive experiences I’ve had from their social media response keeps me as a customer even if I had a negative experience. After all, it’s their willingness to help, even if it’s because I’m “telling on them” that makes the difference to me. When people tell me about a negative experience with a place, I always recommend they take to social media!

  3. Kelly Potts says:

    There was a lady I used to dog sit for, and she took to Facebook to request help for a flight from southwest (basically she needed to get to her hubs to see him for 24 hours while he was away somewhere). She got a response back immediately and got her flight and all was good in the world. But now, anytime she has an issue, she goes to Facebook and throws a fit when her previous experience expectations are not met.

    Responding via social media is great- but I think some people take advantage of it!

  4. I couldn’t possibly agree more with “When there are complaints on social media it is not just a marketing/PR problem, it is a customer service problem.” What’s difficult for me as a marketer is that I’m on the hook for the PR problem caused by the complaint but I am not always able to get the internal support I need to address it.

  5. Stephanie Lough says:

    I tend to take it to social media before calling customer service. Really not the right order of operations but dagnabit if it just isn’t so much easier! (Given you get a response.)

    • Stephanie Lough says:

      Perfect example from just now – trying to change a flight on Southwest, didn’t immediately find a way to do it online so tweeted for help (tagged @SouthwestAir, but was meant for anyone to reply.) They got back to me in less than 10 minutes with the link to exactly where I need to go. Maybe I’m just lazy, but it’s so much easier!

  6. Great blog and timely for me. I’m having an issue with @MaytagCare – just bought a new washer, (not cheap – $800), and it broke within the first month. Repairman came by, didn’t fix and we had to call a second time. Repair guy still has yet to show up, a week later. (First time, he was 4 hours late). I took to Twitter, and here was the response: “We’ll be in touch.” How about giving me a call, is what I said to them? First rule when there’s an issue – pick up the phone and talk firsthand to someone and solve the problem. Don’t just Tweet that “you’re going to look into it.” Cheers, David

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