Fed up with the way British Airways was handling the issue of his father’s lost luggage, businessman Hasan Syed decided to complain about it.
But rather than just put out a normal tweet, he paid to have one promoted.
The promoted tweet bought by Mr Syed reads: “Don’t fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous.”
Promoted tweets are generally bought by advertisers who want to reach a wider audience. However a “paid for” tweet is given high prominence in the Twitter feed of the relevant company but otherwise acts as a normal message and can be retweeted by others.
Mr Syed purchased his paid for tweet via Twitter’s self-service ad platform for an undisclosed sum. He targeted New York and UK markets with the tweet.
The decision to highlight BA’s customer service came following a trip his parents made from Chicago to Paris at the weekend, during which his father lost his luggage.
Six hours after the tweet went live, and was picked up by news website Mashable, it had been read by thousands of Twitter users, retweeted and commented on.
But it took another four hours for British Airways to pick up on it: “Sorry for the delay in responding, our twitter feed is open 09:00-17:00 GMT. Please DM [direct message] your baggage ref and we’ll look into this.”
The implications are tremendous for the future of online customer service, especially on social media- like Twitter.
Social media is easy to use and recipients of bad service have the same access to them as corporations. Yes this approach cost money- but the amount may have been only a few hundred Pounds.
All companies are going to have to start having 24/7 social media customer services and maybe they will even need to train up call centre reps to respond to messages on Facebook and Twitter.