I had an interesting experience recently with customer service, that seemed worth expanding a bit into a post. On Thursday morning, I noticed that rather than the 200 or so Twitter updates I would see in my regular Twitter client, Tweetdeck, there were only about 15 messages. Something seemed wrong. I checked Twitter (to see if it was down), but it seemed to be showing all of the "missing" messages. I did a search, and lots of others were complaining about missing messages in Tweetdeck as well. I checked Tweetdeck's website and Twitter feed, and neither said anything about problems, so I put up a message on Twitter noting the problems, and wondering if I should check out Seesmic, a Tweetdeck competitor I had tested a long time ago.
Here's where things got interesting. There was no response at all from Tweetdeck, but within a few minutes, I actually received a reply from Seesmic
. There were two things that struck me as quite interesting about the reply:
- I had directed my original comment at Tweetdeck, but it was the competitor Seesmic that was first to reply. Think about that from a competitive standpoint, and how that changes the way competition can work. In the past, if I had a complaint about one company, it would be more difficult for a competitor to swoop in and offer an alternative. But, with Twitter, it's easy.
- The part that's more impressive. Seesmic didn't slam Tweetdeck, or push me to move to its own product. Instead, it pointed out that the real problem might not have been with Tweetdeck, but with Twitter. In other words, it defended its competitor, and did a better job explaining the problem to me than Tweetdeck itself did.
That second point is, in some ways, mindblowing. And, even though the "problem" may not have been Tweetdeck's at all, I'm now trying out Seesmic much more seriously, because of the way they handled this "customer service issue," even though it was on someone else's product.