Unlike my colleagues here at Jack in the box my forays with technology are at best painful to watch and often accompanied by lots of agitated exclamations about just how stupid I think computers are (It couldn’t possibly be my mishandling of the machine that made it crash, could it?). Though I may not know computers, I do know the value of great customer service, and I definitely know a good idea when I see it. So when I heard about Telstra BigPond using the social networking/microblogging siteTwitter to communicate with their customers I knew Telstra was on to a good thing.

Twitter allows its users to send and read others updates or ‘ tweets‘ of up to 140 characters. The application has been slow to take off in Australia, however worldwide Twitter feeds have been used by many different people for many different purposes – from people looking to expand their network to companies such as Nike and Starbucks. The benefits of using Twitter are great for businesses; using the social networking tool companies can converse with their customers, post company news or garner consumer feedback about products and services.

BigPond launched their Twitter service late 2008 to act as an online support channel connecting BigPond service employees and BigPond customers. BigPond email support team monitors the microblogging service for posts that mention any potential support issues BigPond customers may be experiencing. If an issue is discovered a support team member contacts the customer via Twitter and offers assistance. The matter is then resolved quickly and efficiently online between the customer and support person.

Now, people are always whining about this telephone company. Telstra, and especially BigPond, are notorious for long wait times on service phone calls, and assistance is rarely able to be given by one team member, necessitating multiple time consuming (and annoying) transfers between departments. BigPond‘s customer service efforts on Twitter however are raising voices on the net for completely different reasons – people praising the telco for their initiative and stellar service, compliments I am sure the company is not terribly used to.

So I would like to add my comments to the voices of the many happy BigPond/Twitter users and say congratulations to BigPond for their initiative in using this application to assist their customers, minimising customer frustration and generally providing a vastly improved service experience. I would send my comments to BigPond via Twitter myself … if I could only figure out how to work it (!!)