The other day, I saw a news story that caught my interest: Charter Communications, the cable company, was planning to file for bankruptcy protection. Being a Charter customer, I thought I would post my thoughts on Twitter.
My tweet, verbatim:
“My cable co. to file bankruptcy. I told them I was planning on going to AT&T and Charter could have cared less.”
For those of you a little sketchy on what Twitter is, it’s basically a “micro” blogging site that allows anyone to publish statements in 140 characters or less.
I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter. At best, it’s a collective brain trust–an interactive think tank if you will–that you can draw off of. My life has personally benefited from the ideas that I’ve read on Twitter.
At worst, though, it’s a high school cafeteria–full of meaningless drivel about everyday experiences…and noise. As Tino Mantella, president of the Technology Association of Georgia, once said, and I’m paraphrasing, “I have no interest in reading tweets on eating ice cream.”
But I must admit I have a new-found respect for the power of Twitter. Within two minutes of my Charter tweet, I received a message from a company rep, “Umatter2Charter,” saying that Charter does care about me. Intrigued, I “DM”d him. (That’s a private e-mail, virtually meaning “direct message.”) I told him I’m never at home and that the AT&T U-verse guy was knocking at my door…
Umatter2Charter called me that day.
I told him I had called another rep about lowering my monthly service because I knew people who had U-verse who were paying less than me and had more channels, a better user interface, and a digital video recorder. (DVRs rock, by the way). The rep, I told him, really could have cared less.
Well, there’s a happy ending. Umatter2Charter knocked off $30. That made me happy. It made me not want to go to AT&T.
Moral of the story? You–yes, you–should be on Twitter. If you manage a brand, any brand– B2B or B2C–you need to be monitoring what consumers are saying about you. And trust me, Twitter users are talking about you, whether you’re a start-up or a Fortune 500 consumer products company. Twitter users tweet about everything. What they’re working on. The software they’re using. The delicious mint chocolate chip ice cream they just ate.
They even tweet about tweeting.
Let’s face it, we aren’t affectionate toward our TV and Internet service providers; we just want a cost-effective service that works. So if a cable company could win my affection, then you could win the affection of wayward customers, too.