Josh Lowensohn at Webware has a great post up about how he was having trouble with his Comcast connection, so he posted a message about it on Twitter — never expecting to get the same kind of response that Mike Arrington got when he posted about the same thing not that long ago. Instead, he got a response within a couple of minutes from a Comcast customer service rep named Frank Eliason, who regularly monitors Twitter and other social media for similar expressions of dissatisfaction about the company and its Internet service.
I remember when Mike wrote about Comcast-Twitter experience at TechCrunch, and I remember thinking exactly the same thing that Josh Lowensohn thought: I figured that the company was probably monitoring both Mike’s blog and his Twitter messages, because he’s so influential within the tech community. But would they do the same for anyone else? According to Eliason, yes. He says he has “lost track” of the number of people he has helped after seeing Twitter messages about problems, and that he also scans blogs for the same reason.
I shouldn’t really have to say it, but this is Smart with a capital “S.” Any company that is not using these kinds of tools needs to give their heads a shake. It’s true that Twitter might be for “edge cases,” but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be part of the monitoring you do of websites, blogs, Facebook and so on. Give it some thought — or better still (shameless plug), come to mesh 2008 where Sam Ladner from BlastRadius will be talking about online reputation management.
And remember as well that — as Sarah Perez put it in a recent Read/Write Web post about the same topic — none of this should take the place of good, old-fashioned customer service.