Hang up and Tweet: Customer service benefits of signing up for Twitter

Companies turn to Twitter to provide quicker customer service

By Eryka Washington - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Are you a Tweeter? If not you may want to join Twitter and here is why.

More and more companies are turning to Twitter and at the end of the day, you may be able to get in contact with companies via Twitter a lot faster than calling on the phone.

For those of you new to Twitter, it is a social media site. You can send and receive messages using up to 140 character spaces. Those messages are called tweets.

"We always want to be where our customers are," said Donald Forbes of Brighthouse.

Brighthouse found their customers are on Twitter. In fact they have a half dozen people just to tweet from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

"Anytime anyone goes on there whether they spell Brighthouse right or wrong we are going to see it and we are going to respond," Forbes said.

You can expect a response in roughly 5 minutes, according to Forbes.

Orlando Utilities Commission is tweeting to their customers too.

"They can tweet at us we can respond and let them know we got it, as opposed to wait for someone to pick up the phone," said Erika Hodges of OUC.

In fact a storm earlier this year knocked out power to 40,000 customers and people turned to Twitter to get information and report outages.

"It was a stressful time but they wanted to let customer out there to know they are coming and to hold tight," Hodges said. "We saw a lot of customers hop on Twitter, some were saying 'I'm down to my last bar' so they'd rather send a tweet or email rather than sit on hold or navigate the phone system and burn up their battery."

Jetblue airlines also uses Twitter and has dedicated team watching for tweets 24/7. JetBlue has one of the quickest response rate, they try to respond to every tweet within a 15 minute window.

Laurie Meacham out of JetBlue's Salt Lake City office says almost all questions or concerns can be resolved via Twitter and agents can actually help people faster on Twitter.

"We can be a little quicker responding that way with Twitter you can have multiple conversations at once where as on the phone you can only speak to one person at a time," Meacham said.

Ashley Weaver said she tweets all the time but it wasn't until this tweet she realized the power of Twitter. She ate an Auntie Anne's garlic pretzel that she says was awful! So she tweeted about.

"So I took a picture of the pretzel, I tweeted Auntie Anne's and within 10 minutes they got back to me and said 'oh Ashley we're sorry,'" Weaver said, adding that not only did they tweet her back, they reimbursed her for the pretzel and sent a handwritten note.

Weaver said she believes consumers are in the driving seat now.

"They don't want you to say I've had bad experience and  it go unnoticed," she said.

You can find the majority of business on Twitter. Keep in mind many businesses use Twitter to inform their customers of upcoming sales, promotions and deals.

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