Monday, February 22, 2010

The power of Twitter

The most recent tweet in my new twitter account reads like this:

Twitter FTW!! Many Many thanks to Cheryl Patton w/@macysinc for literally making the problem vanish overnight. THAT'S good business!!

I was pleasantly surprised to see a response to my less-than-pleased tweets from earlier in the week when I logged in on thursday...I had hoped it would get someone's attention, but didn't really expect it to. Within two hours of sending them my contact info (in a private message) Ms. Patton called me up, listened to my story and frustrations, took all the information I had to give, gave me a number for a fax that she would personally be able to pick up, and promised to get back to me later that day. Which she did!! She'd walked my proof of payment to the collections department and by the end of the day the late fees had been waived and the collection hounds had been called off so I wouldn't get anymore phone calls. She promised to have a final answer to what happened to my original payment by the next day. Sure enough, she called me again on friday afternoon with the good news: Late fees gone, account brought to current status with a $0 balance, and the dings on the report should disappear as if they never existed within two weeks.

When our friend Ben first brought this 'twitter' thing back from a SXSW "the next big thing on the web" conference a few years back, I thought it was interesting but a bit ridiculous...silly and frivolous at best, though potentially fun. Since then, though, twitter has proven itself much more than just a gimmick. I've heard of it being used in situations ranging from PR announcements to helping to alert friends and family of political arrests, to helping spread information around natural disasters and yes, as a customer service tool...but until now it seemed to me that it was a tool for the popular, the already well connected: As of this incident, I now see twitter as being a powerful tool for everyone, perhaps helping to shape the future of customer service infrastructure generally, changing the dynamic between big agencies and the individuals they rely on.

So many thanks to Cheryl Patton for listening to me, and many thanks to twitter for giving me a voice to be heard with. I'll recommend twitter to anyone now!