Sunday, September 25, 2016

Monitoring Social Media for Customer Service

There was quite the social media buzz created when this story in the Huffington Post broke. It sure looked like Amtrak had left a woman stranded in an elevator by not responding to a tweet for 7 months.
tweet stuck in elevator
But on closer examination it appears that that Amanda Carpenter was tweeting to whoever happened to be reading her tweets: "Guys." 

She did not use Amtrak's Twitter handle, @Amtrak, but rather the word amtrak

She did not use BWI Airport's Twitter handle, @BWI_Airport.

Does this let Amtrak and BWI off the hook entirely? No, it does not. 

If you are a customer-facing entity (and probably even if you aren't) you should be running social media searches for variations of your name, including misspellings, all the time. You should try to catch as many mentions of your business as possible, even if they are not "correct" social media mentions.

Does that let Amanda Carpenter off the hook entirely? No it does not. What she did is roughly equivalent to shouting "amtrak!" in the elevator. She should have had no reasonable expectation that either the rail company or the airport would "hear" her tweet. Communication is a two-way street.

So, what can we learn?

If you are a customer:

  • Look up the social account of the company you are trying to reach - and remember there are unofficial "fan pages" on Facebook and fake accounts on Twitter.
  • Unless there are are no other reasonable alternatives, or if you know a brand is very responsive, don't use social media as your first method of contact.
If you are a brand:
  • Monitor social media constantly
  • Search for variations of your name
  • Reach out whenever you can
What do you think?


  1. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. Shane Perry Marketing