Customer Service Mistakes on Twitter

Did you hear about how T-Mobile screwed up on Twitter?

Check out the full story here:

Their reps were listening to unhappy Sprint customers and jumping into the conversations trying to ‘pick up’ low-hanging fruit. They screwed up because the customers weren’t looking to leave; they wanted to air their views. Two very different things. The end result is the customer feels ‘spied-upon’ – like a digital sniper monitoring the airwaves and picking off targets. Not good.

This is one big problem of enabling a team to tweet at a customer service level. The team needs to have thorough training and guidance to make sure their ‘help’ is measured and appropriate and not damaging the very brand which they should be representing.

Training could be to blame, targets could be to blame, people could be to blame. But the one thing I believe is the biggest problem, and a cause, is acting anonymously. The good thing about this exchange with T-Mobile and Sprint customers is ‘Matt M’ could be identified, was clearly at fault and being overzealous – but he was still acting behind the T-Mobile logo!

Acting under the logo of T-Mobile feels like a good thing – as the brand benefits from all good interactions – however people are fallible, people screw up, and when that happens the brand needs to distance itself from that mistake. In social spaces we can accept that ‘Matt M, from T-Mobile screwed up’, but if we’re acting anonymously, there’s only one person we can point the finger at – the brand.

What should the set up be?

  • Poaching customers is such a weak way to do business. Who cares what the competition is doing? Focus on what you do better.
  • Matt M should have his own twitter account and make it clear when he’s speaking on behalf of his employer. He should not be using the Brand logo. That’s as anti-social as going into the pub with a bag over your head.

What do you think? Are you operating behind a logo and want to know how to make the switch? You should definitely consider it.


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