When customer service on Twitter goes too far

Guest post by Hannah Stacey @hanstacey

Dear Cision

In this world of faceless capitalist exploitation and unbridled individualism; where huge corporations take delight in rinsing the poor subjugated man on the street for every dime of his hard-earned cash and CEOs would sooner kill a hundred kittens than see their share price drop, it’s actually quite nice when companies act like they give two hoots about us and our miserable proletarian existence.

You see, Cision, people love it when companies act like they care (even if they’re only pretending).  We love it when they empathise with our miserable, monotonous plight. It makes our little wretched hearts leap with joy.

So when, for example, one of us is using a certain award-winning communications workflow software and, in the heat of the moment, foolishly decides to tweet our exasperation at its failings, it’s pretty cool to know that someone somewhere is picking that up. If that media resource was to then give us a friendly tweet in reply asking what they can do to help, it’d make us feel loved.

What people don’t like, Cision, is being stalked. If, having sent said tweet, that infuriated individual was then to receive a Twitter response, a LinkedIn page visit, an email and a phone call all within the space of 5 minutes they might feel a little over-loved.  In fact, some might even call it harassment.

So whilst you get at least 10/10 for effort when it comes to customer service, Cision, I think you might need to work a bit on your strategy.  To be brutally honest, it’s just a bit creepy.



p.s. please don’t call me.


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2 Responses to “When customer service on Twitter goes too far”

  1. paul miller
    February 22, 2012 at 14:18 #

    Hi Hannah

    I was sincerely sorry to read the views expressed in your post. So, as father of the strategy in question, I’d like to explain what we do and why we do it in the hope that you can help us improve.

    Here’s the process:

    1) Our online community manager (OCM) detects the brand mention through our real-time monitoring systems

    2) The OCM assesses the nature of the tweet and the need for follow-up. Where we are dealing with expressions of dissatisfaction, particularly when we suspect the dissatisfaction can be quickly resolved, we treat the matter as urgent.

    3) Where such follow-up is required, the OCM identifies the author of the tweet (i.e. is he/she an existing client?) In some cases, company-level information is available in the Twitter bio, which makes confirming an identity against our own records easy enough. Where it’s not – as in your case – we double check the ID with publically available LinkedIn data to make sure we’ve got the right person. I hope you can see why we would want to avoid contacting the wrong person in these circumstances.

    4) The OCM then contacts the person at Cision best equipped to deal with the issues raised, be that the account manager, client service representative, or whoever, who will then call the tweet’s author. If there’s no response, we’ll email. We do not tweet a response unless we absolutely have to – few issues can be effectively resolved in 140 characters.

    And that’s it. We really would welcome any suggestions as to how and where we might make this better. Because as much as I think all this stuff is 100% above-the-line public, I really don’t want to give anyone the creeps.

    Thanks Hannah

    Paul (Head of Digital Strategy, Cision UK)

  2. February 22, 2012 at 21:14 #

    a speedy reply!

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