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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013

Twitter's battle of the brands

British Airways vs. Velveeta show very different social media strategies

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Twitter is becoming the make-or-break place for consumers to air gripes against businesses and get a resolution.

I've long railed against the outsourcing of customer service at big business. The reality is the IQ of a company is inversely proportional to the size of that company. The bigger it gets, the less efficient it becomes -- kind of like a lumbering dinosaur!

You know what I'm talking about if you pick up the phone to call a company about a problem and you get the blow-off!

That's why I've always told people to go guerrilla and start working the email. Go online and figure out the second and third level executives at a company. Then start sussing out their email addresses. This works best if you send short, clear, polite emails about your gripe and what resolution you want.

But today, people are just using 140 characters to let their distaste be known. One man paid Twitter upwards of $1,000 for a sponsored tweet attacking British Airways for a grievance over lost luggage they wouldn't address. His tweet went viral, the airline started looking bad, and so they took care of the guy and his issue.

Many companies monitor Twitter closely. Comcast is one. They've historically had a poor customer service reputation. So try posting on social media if you're getting the blow-off on the phone.

Don't be a whiner, and don't be cynical and mean in what you write. Just send out your tweets with a little bit of humor and the big company you're targeting will (usually) work quickly to respond to you. Because they care about their reputation in cyberspace!

Likewise, I heard another new report about Velveeta and how they responded to one customer who was unhappy about his Velveeta container being under-filled. As you might guess...he tweeted about it. Well, Velveeta responded beautifully. So let this be a lesson to businesses everywhere.

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