I've used PayPal for years and think it's a great service. Earlier this month PayPal asked me to change passwords, not exactly sure why but what should have been a simple password change turned into a week’s grief. I did exactly what they asked, put in a new hard-to-crack password, a few security questions and hit submit. This simply didn’t work, I got error code after error code. After having entered my mother’s maiden name and my primary school about 14 times I gave up.
The natural step was to have a chat with customer services. I know that it’s a pain to get through to them so I sent a little email, knowing full well that it would most likely receive an automated response. A week passed and I heard nothing back from them. During this time of no access to my PayPal account and I started thinking about alternative payment methods (when will those Facebook Credits kick in?).
Captain Twitter to the rescue
Then it suddenly dawned on me, I’ll try sending a little tweet and see what happens. A quick search on Twitter rendered two accounts of interest: @PayPayl and @AskPayPal. I tweeted both of them as per below and then had a cup of tea or something.
Next thing I know they have picked up on it, asking me to DM (direct message) the email address the PayPal account is registered against as per below.
I do this and about five minutes later I get an email and a tweet saying that normal service has been restored on my account. I checked this and yes indeed, good old PayPal was working like clockwork again.
I thanked them first in private and then did the obligatory public thank you tweet…
Twitter as customer service
There is no doubt that Twitter is a fantastic tool for customer service. The question is rather why is this the case? Customer services is certainly nothing new, some companies are great at it and other are not so great. On Twitter they all seem to be doing really well.
Do companies invest heavily in customer service on Twitter (and other social platforms) because they think it’s a useful too OR could it be that they see it as a damage limitation exercise? When you are in the phone queue to a company you get frustrated but there is nowhere to vent this in public. When you are on Twitter, your friends and indeed the whole world can see what is going on. It feels a bit like a name and shame exercise to use Twitter but you can't deny that it works.
I don’t know what their set up is down at PayPal but I expect they have a Gatorade-type battle station monitoring the social web and dive in to help wherever possible. This team operates in the borderlines of PR, communications, customer service and technology. I would imagine it's almost like the SAS or Delta Force, nobody really knows what they do and whom they report to – but they are certainly effective.
Will it last?
If you do have any problems with a company, do tweet or write on their Facebook Page wall. They have to reply fairly swiftly or they could suffer brand damage. At the moment Twitter seems to be a direct line to outstanding service, I wonder how long this will last. When everyone starts tweeting about their grievances I think we’ll find that service will slow down or at least evolve somehow. I can't imagine companies serving millions of people everyday on Twitter but I have been wrong before…
Have you ever used Twitter for customer service?
More Twitter ideas for your company at Why You Should Use Twitter for Your Business.