Business Companies customer service

Why and how your company should have a presence on Twitter

Companies on Twitter

Companies and Twitter interactions

Many companies have a presence on social media and some are much better than others at interacting with their customers on these platforms. When companies engage with customers, whether for compliments or complaints, it is helping the company’s image and reputation far more than those who don’t have a presence or who ignore complaints.

Twitter has its limitations for consumers when it comes to complaining. At some point, unless it is very simple, they will have to take it into direct messages (DMs) or email to explain the situation and/or give personal details. But in all this time many thousands of people can see how well (or not) a company is dealing with complaints. Frequently you will find that when done in good humour and swiftly people accept the situation and engage positively with it. Let’s take Kentucky Fried Chicken as an example…

KFC chicken shortage and Twitter getting it right

The KFC chicken shortage in 2018, caused by delivery problems, gave rise to a widespread advertising campaign where the company apologised for the fiasco. Two adverts apologising with humour won them an award


These press adverts resulted in one billion impressions on Twitter. Millions and millions of more people saw and took notice of KFC sending itself up. What could have been a reputational disaster actually resulted in a successful PR outcome.

That would not have been the case if the company had not been willing to take a risk and it certainly would not have been the case had KFC not been on Twitter.

Companies can use Twitter in another way

Another recent and amusing case study here shows how it is possible to go further and fight back at haters at the same time:

A Coconut Water Brand Is Offering Free Piss on Twitter Because This Is the Future When a “hater” told the company that he would rather drink piss they offered to send him some. The thread shows how the tweet went viral, got in the press and increased their followers.

This tweet was retweeted nearly five thousand times and liked by over thirty three thousand. Twittersphere  enjoyed the reply and the company received many many followers as a result.

There is a debate of course as to how far you should go in terms of taste and what is acceptable for your brand.

Companies getting it wrong on Twitter

Compare this with other companies such as TSB. In April last year it had a serious IT issue arising from an upgrade resulting in thousands of customers not being able to access their account, whilst others encountered fraud on their account. It did not communicate well with customers.


TSB lost financially and in September 2018 the CEO, Paul Pester, stepped down.

How you deal with mistakes on Twitter

Although perhaps one cannot compare personal finance with a fast food, it does show how TSB could have handled the matter better and perhaps not lost the customers it did. Keeping people up to date, responding to people on social people may well have ensured that it did not lose the number of customers it undoubtedly did. Every company makes mistakes, it is how it deals with them that matters.

A few years ago, I helped someone on Twitter. The company was trying to fob her off getting a refund. I got her a refund. The company’s Twitter team blocked me. That move backfired badly because I then spent the next hour looking for people who were complaining to the company and helped them with their consumer rights! Never underestimate what people will do on social media, for whatever reason!

Using feedback on Twitter to improve your products

To use KFC as an example again… KFC has always been criticised for its poor chips but last year chips went chunky with skins on and were, in my opinion,. much improved. Story around this here.

In its social media campaign to raise awareness of the new chips it went even further than acknowledging that it was down to customers’ feedback. It went back four years and used old tweets. That’s really listening and responding to customers. (Not that it should have taken four years, but you get the idea!)

The future for companies and Twitter

Companies ignore the value and impact of social media at their peril. Social media is where the majority of your customers are. You need to engage with them where they hang out. The better companies not only keep customers informed and engage with them, they actively reach out and ask opinions. Not only are you showing that you value customers but you would get some useful feedback too. AND it’s cheaper than traditional media.

outstretched hand with Twitter symbol on it

BBC Breakfast Helen Dewdney and Steph discuss complaining on social media 06/07/16

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By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

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