British MP Falls Flat after Attempting to Use Twitter to Obtain Preferential Bank Service
We’ve all been there. We’ve had an issue with a company that we simply cannot seem to resolve. We contact the call center, we send e-mails, we request callbacks, and even if the company picks up our call or answers our e-mail, we get know actual results on our issue. The old-fashioned term for this is “the runaround.” While call centers are tasked with solving customers’ problems, the companies they represent don’t always provide them with the tools they require to offer good customer support.
In frustration, many of us unable to get results from traditional call center channels turn to social media to try and get attention.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard set an interesting (but perhaps unintended) precedent last year. After attempting unsuccessfully to set up a new cable account with Time Warner (News - Alert) after a move to Brooklyn last September, British actor Patrick Stewart tweeted the following to his followers: “All I wanted to do was set up a new account with [Time Warner Cable] but 36hrs later I’ve lost the will to live.”
The frustrated tweet was quickly retweeted 1,115 times by his fans and generated even more comments, according to the New York Post. The incident led to a public relations nightmare for Time Warner, and presumably led to quick action on the cable company’s part in setting up Stewart’s new account.
The lesson was noted by many, who imagined that complaining on Twitter (News - Alert) is the new best way to get a company’s attention. It didn’t work out quite so well for a British MP. The Labour Party’s Stella Creasy recently tried the tactic when she failed to get an adequate response from Halifax Bank, tweeting the following:
“making a complaint to my bank @halifax and expecting not just the call handler to ‘log it’ as a response, but to get an actual response.”
While Creasy sent the tweet to her 24,000 followers, she didn’t actually direct it to Halifax Bank by putting their Twitter handle first, and apparently expected magic to happen: the bank would fawningly contact her, take care of her problem and apologize.
Instead, Creasy is the subject of mocking in the British press today.
“If an MP threatened their bank manager with a whining email to constituents unless they got good service, it would be considered out of order,” wrote the Telegraph’s Jack Rivlin. “This isn’t so different. MPs can sample the impotence we all feel at the hands of automated phone lines, box-ticking operatives and unanswered tweets.”
Rivlin calls it the new “Don’t you know who I am?” and labels it just as cringe-worthy as if it was said in person. While one might expect well known personalities to take on the public’s frustration with bad customer service, it’s a tactical error to take it on only when personally encountering bad service.
And while it may have worked for Patrick Stewart, none of the rest of us will ever be as cool as the captain of the Enterprise…Ms. Creasy included.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman