Over the weekend, two of the users I follow on Twitter, David All and Techcrunch (Michael Arrington), had separate problems with Comcast and vented about them via their Twitter accounts. Comcast apparently monitors Twitter and proactively reached out to both of them.

Here is the relevant tweet from Techrunch:


And here is the tweet from David:


An article in the Consumerist confirms that other users have received responses after complaining via Twitter. In a follow up article about his problems, Michael Arrington offers advice to folks with a Comcast service problem: “Skip the hold time on their customer service line and go on the attack at Twitter instead. You may find your problem fixed in a hurry.”

Three thoughts on this:

(1) I think it is great that Comcast is listening to people on Twitter and reacting proactively to fix problems. Based on a quick search, there appear to be plenty of problems to that need addressing. More companies should monitor and participate in Twitter in a meaningful way (we are working on doing Twitter tracking through our ImpactWatch service).

(2) As a consumer, I’m bothered by the precedent of the squeaky wheels on Twitter getting preferential treatment over people who go through normal channels.

(3) Not speaking specifically about Comcast, I think the focus some companies place on social media is more about PR/crisis management than a true commitment to customer service and dialogue. Performing triage on complaints that come in through Twitter may keep the customer revolt at bay for a short time, but when that levee eventually breaks, it isn’t going to be pretty.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.