Customer service via Twitter is the subject of considerable discussion both pro and con. A lot of the negative commentary suggests that people are taking to Twitter, in full public view, in order to circumvent the preferred method of customer contact: the telephone.
Among the various answers to this challenge is one that doesn't get a lot of attention. Customer service on Twitter occurs in something close to real time, but in truth, it's asynchronous. It could be a few seconds, a couple minutes, several hours or even days before a company's customer service department sees a tweet; the customer can take just as long to act on a response from the company.
This can work in favor of both the company and the customer. Nobody sits on hold while waiting for a rep to research an issue or elevate the situation to a higher tier of support. But today, I saw the first instance of another dimension of the asynchronous nature of Twitter customer support:
In this instance, customer support involved two entirely separate companies. Coral, a Best Buy representative, found a tweet from a customer having a problem with a Dell computer purchased at Best Buy. Rather than direct a caller to Dell's customer service, Coral simply tweeted Lionel Menchaca at Dell to see if he could help.
Reaading through the tweets associated with this, I'm not sure Trygve Olsen-the customer-has been satisfied with the resolution (he still seems unhappy with Dell), but this one tweet opens a lot of possibilities for Twitter's utility as a customer service channel. Through the interconnected nature of Twitter and the fact that it's not real-time (even if it's really, really close), customer support intereactions could happen more seamlessly between customers and representatives of different departments ordifferent companies.
Have you seen something like this before?