by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
customer service

seesmic, tweetdeck, twitter

Smart Customer Service Lessons: Responding Faster To Complaints About Your Competitors

from the lessons-learned dept

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Wow, nice customer service... I know in my experience the small companies still give a crap about the customer and general experience.. in this case they dont want you to pull out of Twitter, which hurts both of them. But still bravo...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Robert Ring (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    Simply put: brilliant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:05pm

    Twitter problems.

    It seems that Seesmic has done the right thing here. They not only have shown me that they exist, but they've shown that they're good a customer service. I may check them out latter.

    I've been having a lot of problems with Twitter as well. They seem to be having server issues, they can't take the load. I heard just today that it seems to be fixed for some people, but I haven't been able to test it yet.

    I've also heard that Twitter got hacked yesterday. The entire website was replaced. Don't know how true that was. May have been part of the problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Twitter problems.

    Actually, it was a DNS poisoning. (Lying to the DNS servers concerning the IP address of a specific website.)

    Whatever happened to "Customer Service: We're not happy until you're not happy."? ; )

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Darkness_junkie, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re: Twitter problems.

    Sometimes the customer just doesn't want to be happy though. Sometimes they just want someone to yell at because they're jerks...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Rooker, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    I like Seesmic's desktop app but it has a couple of dealbreaker problems that keep me with Tweetdeck. If they'd fix these, I'd definitely switch.

    1) The font is too small, you can't resize it and my eyes suck.

    2) It burns up too much bandwidth. Tweetdeck uses no more than 1 or 2 MB per hour while nearly every other app uses 10-20MB. I have Hughesnet, which has an absurd bandwidth limit. This would put me over that limit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 5:29pm


    Yeah. Sounds a bit like Zappos customer service. You can call Zappos and ask them for help getting a taxi sent to pick you up...and they'll do it.

    It's a "help the customer in any way you can, if at all possible, and we'll bank on the relationship at some point in the future" strategy. CwF + RtB?

    For those who don't know, Zappos sells shoes online, which has nothing to do with taxis.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Monarch (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Twitter problems.

    Amen to that!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Monique, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 8:16pm

    Dime a Dozen

    Twitter clients are a dime a dozen. No ability to differentiate the offering and Twitter is eating their lunch with every new feature.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Creepy, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Is all good.

    But a bit creepy to realize that actually someone bothered to respond.

    I once posted a link to a research paper about ants and the guy came to my blog :)

    WTF! Never in a million years I was expecting someone to bother reading what I write and there it was the author of the research paper asking if it was that cool.

    Turns out I almost DDoSed his website with the traffic, I had no idea people were reading what I wrote so I never bothered to monitor traffic or read any logs. People flocked to the site and he came looking for the referer LoL

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    John Dowdell, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Technique actually goes back to BBSs, CompuServe/AOL, and Usenet... puts the emphasis on the person trying to get their work done, rather than just the currently-used product.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Peter, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 6:31pm


    You actually mentioned "seesmic" in the post itself, which most likely tripped their filters. Now, if they responded to you without that trigger, just by seeing you mention "tweetdeck", THAT would be impressive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Offbeatmammal (profile), Dec 20th, 2009 @ 8:36pm

    conducting customer support in public - risks and rewards

    I've had some interesting experiences recently where great support via Twitter has impressed me. HP and Polar Fitness have both responded to tweets not directed to them (but about their products) to see if they could help.

    Interestingly though when I ended up working with HP traditional support they've rather dropped the ball, but Polar have handled the transfer pretty seamlessly.

    I think as there are more open and public communications channels open with customers the companies that make it are going to be the ones who "get" social media and the fact that it's not just about deflecting a complaint it's about engaging with your existing and potential clients in a much more genuine fashion

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 20th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    Re: Hmmm

    You actually mentioned "seesmic" in the post itself, which most likely tripped their filters. Now, if they responded to you without that trigger, just by seeing you mention "tweetdeck", THAT would be impressive.

    True, true. Though, it wouldn't be hard for them to monitor the term "tweetdeck" too.

    You know what's disappointing though? It's now been four days, and despite the tweet and this blog post, not a word from Tweetdeck.

    I did hear from another competitor as well, though. This does not bode well for Tweetdeck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Chris, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 7:56am

    Isn't tweetdeck a free service?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Lior, Dec 31st, 2009 @ 11:38pm


    Excellent approach! Something to add to the company mantra...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 9:20pm

    HI poh!yung signal po d2 sa amin sa bohol npkahina sayang nmn ang dami pa nmng subscriber yung iba lumipat na kc ang hina talaga sana po maaksyonan nyo agad

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    arlene, Apr 17th, 2010 @ 7:04am


    Good day can you help me trace the location of this cellphone number or can you do something with this number 09084360448 because its harassing me it always give me a frank call. please help

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Arlou Oftana, Jul 29th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Activate Roaming Sim card

    How to activate my smart sim card. Im already abroad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Certapro Complaints, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 4:37pm

    New Customer Service

    Great customer service experience!
    This is a great example of real time customer service. Thank to social media website such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, now any company is potentially able to answer to any customer's complaints on-line, basically REAL TIME!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 1:59pm

    May 04,2011 time:4:00am why we cannot easily use your 1day unli call any time?as a student I chose and I register that promo in order to save my allowance,but this time I had a bad experience on your network I really need to call my mom because my brother is suffering a stomachache and we need him to bring into the hospital, I call my mom using that promo I deal 10x-20x but it keep on saying "network busy". I'm hoping next time I can easily contact very body using that promo with out dealing 10-20x....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    anonymous, May 9th, 2011 @ 4:51am

    ako po nag load may 9 07:08:50 pm , ,alltxt20 (200 smart/tnt txts + 10 all nettxts # 09212130381 fr . 09204621222 . ..
    tanung po .. bkit po pgkatanggap ko po ng load mag te txt na po ako mag se send na ako sa smart sa kaptid ko .. bkit po wla . bkit po bigla akong na check off anu po ba ang ngyayari sa inyo .. hindi lang ngayon ngyari ito ..sna po bigyan nyo po ito ng action ... marami pong salamat .. ASAP ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    joselito llenado, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 10:05pm

    Load grabber

    Walang hiya talaga itong Smart,bumili ako ng smart buddy load worth 100 pesos June 10, ang expiry date dapat July 11. Ang walang hiya dalawa palang tao ang na text ko wala pang call, naging 6 pesos nalang agad ang load balance ko, Kinain na naman ang Load.Nag aarimuhan ka na makatipid dahil wala naman ako masyadong ka text.. dahil sa 234 na text saakin naubos ang load ko, hindi naman ako nag pa subscribe sa kanila!.sinubukan kung e deactivate pero ini invalid nila, at sunod-sunod ang text nila kaya naging 6 pesos nalang ang natira....Yan ang modus mg Smart, walang awa sa mga mamayan, hindi nila iniisip na mahirap kitain ang pera ngayon. hindi gaya nang mga corrup na iba na parang tumatabo lang ng salapi sa kaban ng bayan, sana yon nalang ang tirahin nila, hindi ang mga ordinaryong mga mamayan! Kaya galit sa kanila si Sinator Enrile dahil nabiktima din siya nitong Smart load grabber....Maawa naman kayo!...Ibalik nyo load ko 09192119896

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 9:10pm

    my line ako s smart ung smartgold300 ung freebies ng smartbro im trying to call on your hotline but no one answer my call...ask ko lang kung bakit naka cut p rin ung line q..nagbayad n q ng exceeding bill bakit cut p rin ang line q pwede bang paki gawan ng paraan eto ung mga basic info koh...maricel dela cruz montojo..november 6 1984..ang smart line # q ay 09189644930...pls send me a msg instead of call kc my prob s cp q ngaun..ill wait for ur response...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    ederlyn baskerville, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    smart bro internet connection , ph.

    Hi, may tanong ako ,bakit ilang weeks na hindi maganda ang connection ninyo, kung hindi drop call, static ang sound, hindi mag kaintindihan at hindi magkakitaan sa skype, on time naman ang bayad, bakit ang connection hindi maganda, sa anak ko at sa pinsan ko pareho, kasi pareho silang smart bro, pero yong pinsan ko na ang gamit eh dsl maganda ang connection. sana ayusin ninyo ang connection ninyo, para hindi kayo mawalan ng customer, salamt!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    janet malumay, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:49pm

    im load retailer, gusto ko pong magfile ng case kasi po pagnagload ako makita mo isa lang ang confirmation hindi ko pala napapansin nagdouble load na mahirap nito first na confirmation nasa itaas at ang ang nagdoble nasa baba kaya hindi mo nalalaman na ninakawan na ako napansin ko lang na nagload ako nagtaka ako bkit hindi ako makaload may load pa ako.nagpunta ako sa smart branch sa lugar namin wala daw silang access sa mga prepaid pero nag email sila sa hotline wait lang daw me ng response nagwait naman ako pero wala balik ako ulit sa office nila tinawagan nila ang hotline i recieve na dapat daw 24 hours lang compalin paano ...before this complain nagtatawag ako sa custservice nagsasagot lng na mali daw ang number ko.sana if busy ang line nila busy line sana ang sagot ...somebody help me to to process my complain this is not value nawala sa akin kundi if this hpen sa customer need na ibalik nila dhil sa system nila ang help

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    miaden joy wate, Jan 15th, 2013 @ 7:10am

    hi smart

    bkit po tuwing na mag unli aq lagi ko po d nagagamait?nasasayang po lagi ang load ko,kaya nga po sana aq mag uunli para po mka tipid aq.nag aantay po talaga aq ng oras ng unli ko pero hanggat ma expire nlng po aq dko kuna magamit ang unli,sana po magawan nio ng paraan na maging maayos po ang system.kya po aq nag smart kc alam ko po mabilis at mkakamura ako.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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