Friday, July 24, 2009

Companies paying attention to the Twitters

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 9:58 AM

This week, as I frequently do, I posted a tweet about where I was headed. This time, I was on my way to Duke Energy's Riverbend Coal Plant Steam Station, located less than a dozen miles from Uptown, to take a tour of their two coal ash ponds.

While standing on the road between the two ponds, I noticed the company rep who invited me poking away at his BlackBerry. Turns out, Duke Energy has an employee who is in charge of monitoring the Internets. She sent him a message which he said read something like this, "I hope you're at Riverbend."

That's a big switch from earlier this year when I spent several days bitching about my new Dell computer. (I ended up having to send it back for another one, which, you know, was loads of fun.) Didn't hear a peep from that company. But, I bet you if I repeated my rant session today, I would hear back from them in minutes.

And, I admit, the monitoring does feel a little Big Brother-ish. However, this is the first time in the history of capitalism when companies of all sizes seem to sincerely care about what consumers have to say about their products and services

When the coach started a Twitter account to keep fans posted on her comings and goings, Staley's followers learned that Za's Brick Oven Pizza on Devine Street was her favorite restaurant in town.

One, two and sometimes three times a week, a Staley Twitter message would read something like this: “3 hrs til the heat of cola slaps me around. Camp meeting at guess where….ZA's!“

Until July 5.

Then, Staley sent this message to the 1,589 people who subscribe to her Twitter updates: “Just got mistreated at za's … never eating there again. Taking complaint to corporate office.”

It was horrible, said Cory Sirianni, Za's general manger.

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And, Twitter isn't the only social media outlet where customers are taking their complaints:

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