Twitter Creates Two-Tiered Customer Service

Jackie Huba has a problem with her DSL, tweets about it, and gets a phone call from AT&T’s corporate customer service.  She declares that Twitter is “the killer app” for customer service.

But what about the people that are not on Twitter?

Did Jackie ever stop to think that she is a well-read blogger, with a fan base and a following, and that just *might* have some impact on how aggressively AT&T and other companies respond to her tweets?  Don’t fool yourself: Twitter is not going to get you heard if you don’t already have a platform.

Customer service is slowly, creakingly getting faster, but AT&T can’t possibly respond to every complaint and concern they see voiced on Twitter.  They still have to prioritize, and those decisions are made based on PR impact and potential for brand damage.  If everyone on Twitter automatically moves into the “executive customer care” queue, then soon that queue will be meaningless.

The greater concern is a two-tiered customer service mindset – those with access to a digital platform get good service, those without, don’t.  How do we straddle that chasm while everyone catches up and builds their own platform? I like the idea of Fonolo that allows you to bypass the queuing, while not asking for special treatment – let the system do the work while you keep working.  It seems fairer than pushing your way to the front of the line through multiple Tweets.

Or, is this what brands should expect after such dire customer support for so long?