Cara Mitchell

November 6, 2008

Response to “Still on Hold? Twitter Can Rescue You From Customer Service Line Waits”

Filed under: PR Connections,Responses — by caramitchell @ 6:08 am
Tags: , , ,

A post on ABC News: “Still on Hold? Twitter Can Rescue You From Customer Service Line Waits” discusses a Comcast customer’s story of salvation from 3 days with no Comcast service (phone, cable, or internet) through the power of Twitter.  After getting the typical run around from customer service reps that we have all probably received, this woman decided to tweet about her issues w/ Comcast…

I personally think that it is a great thing that Comcast has a task force to seek out customers who are taking their frustrations to the Internet. It’s a very smart thing and it shows that Comcast understands how serious and damaging customer frustrations can be when unleashed online, however there is something a little fishy about this to me.

It’s similar to a model of PR we studied in class called Stakeholder Theory. The model compares publics in a situation- (for this purpose let’s say a customer service issue) and is a type of rating system on how you should deal with each public. Publics are rated as to what degree they possess power, urgency, and legitimacy. The more characteristics a public possesses, the more important they are in the situation. For example you may choose to deal with a legitimate public who has a lot of power before you deal with a public who solely has a legitimate issue in the situation. In a way this model is unethical- and I see how when it is applied to a real life example such as this ‘Twitter rescue’.

The problem is (and I’m looking from a customer’s perspective): All customers should be treated equally important- especially when they all call in to the customer service line. I understand that each customer wants to feel special and significant (which is why the woman who used Twitter and received help is now completely loyal to Comcast), but it is like you have to take your complaint to the Net to get help- and this should not be. Your call and need for these services should be enough motivation to companies like Comcast.

Clearly, Comcast had the power to help this woman , but they did not do so until she got on the Internet and increased her POWER factor by speaking up…I can relate to this woman (because I have Comcast at home, and worked from home during the summer and had Internet issues). Getting the run around is frustrating enough to customers. What this situation tells me is that Comcast has the power to help customers in a more timely manner than they may schedule- it just depends on how important of a customer they think you are (are you talking bad about their services to the masses?).

Wrap-up: Basically I think it’s a great thing that Comcast is getting involved online and takes their internet-saavy customers seriously, but I don’t think it should have to come to this to get timely help. From a PR perspective: this is a great way to better relations with customers. It makes them feel special and like their business is valuable when they get help from an exclusive group from within the company. I think that Comcast would do even better just being more effective in the customer service department that they already have.

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