Still on Hold? Twitter Can Rescue You From Customer Service Line Waits

Pearlman was impressed. "I used to think of Twitter as an annoyance, and now I see it as a useful service for consumers."

Why can't companies get it right the first time when an angry consumer calls on the phone? Chris Bronk, with the Baker Institute, said the phone reps are overwhelmed and don't have that much clout.

"Everyone is complaining. Comcast is facing more complaints than they used to when they were just the cable company. Now they are the phone company, your Internet company, and they might even do your home security."

Companies, Bronk said, have to make savvy Internet users happy. "To get it right with the Twitter people is to get it right with the geeks. If the geeks are angry and go all over the Internet saying you are not good, it is going to hurt the corporations doing the selling."

Comcast's Frank Eliason saw a clear need to be part of Twitter. "It is important for companies to be where the conversation is -- conversations are happening all the time on e-mail and chat now."

Bronk agreed. "Especially in areas where a very small group has a strong comprehensive knowledge, companies out there selling in this area really run a risk of becoming yesterday's news."

The trick, said Bronk, is for companies to take what they learn from Twitter and expand on it. "If they can knock it out of the park for everybody and not just for those who are Internet-savvy, then they are really on to something. The key is to learn from this and figure out where they have bottlenecks and problems in providing customer support."

Tracey Wallace is now a devoted customer, thanks to the help she received after her post on Twitter. "I am totally loyal to Comcast -- they took care of me."

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