Twitter and Customer Service

I think a lot of people are still trying to work out how to use Twitter for business.

We can all let our followers know what we’re up to, and even forward on useful links to other sites to each other. Some business have been successfully experimenting. Dell, for example, have made over $2m tweeting special offers. The company I work for tweets holiday deals, and we can accurately track how many are clicked thanks to

However, I experienced something new last week and it blew me away, despite it being simple and – dare I say – basic customer care.

I was having all kinds of problems searching for images on iStock. I’d search all media for a generic term like ‘holidays’ and I’d get no results at all. I thought this was a problem at my end, so I cleared cookies an restarted my browser.

But still nothing. iStock was, as far as I could tell, broken.

I tweeted my frustration, and shortly afterwards a Twitter buddy replied…

So, it was working for rishil. Or was it? Moments later rishil added…

Wow. So maybe iStock was broken. You’ll spot the time on that last tweet was 13:49 – 1:49pm GMT.

Also, notice that rishil is helpfully suggesting another stock photography website ( This is, of course, bad news for iStock.

Less than 30 minutes later, this popped up:

Wow. Technically I guess it’s not that impressive. Sure, they must monitor every mention of iStock in tweets. But still – they found the problem (perhaps due to my tweet, perhaps not), fixed it, and then told me about it.

That is GREAT customer service. Think about how difficult that would be to replicate in the real world. Or would it? I bet you could do something similar for your customers if they were able to contact you the instant there is a problem.

Or, better still, that they knew they should contact you instantly if there is a problem.

It gets better. I thank iStock for their speedy response and they get back to me with:

A money off coupon may well be self-serving, but it’s these gestures that help build brand loyalty. Like I’m ever going to go to! Or Shutterstock!

I sent them another thank you tweet, mentioning their great customer service, and iStock replied with:

I rest my case.

There are opportunities for all of us to use Twitter to connect with our customers in an immediate and helpful way. iStock used the system well, and have retained a customer. Not only that, but I’ve written this post about them!

Imagine the good will you could create by reaching out to your customer base and offering them just a little bit more than your competitors.

Twitter is not just good fun. It’s good business too.

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