What’s said about them in the public sphere, that is.
I recently had a bit of a run-in with Time Warner Cable. They charged me twice for the month of June and I was not pleased. As a poor college student, deducting an extra $101.48 (yes, it’s that much) from my account is in no way acceptable. To solve this problem, I chatted online with an “Analyst.” She told me that they had not received multiple charges no matter how many times I tried to convey to her that the money was removed from my account, therefore they obviously had received it. After the pseudo-pleasant conversation with the “Analyst” during which I did my best to keep my cool even though I was wrapped up in a frustrating situation, I took to Twitter.
I received a reply less than 30 minutes later.
By end of day on June 3, my bank account was credited with a $101.48 refund.
Here’s the real kicker: my boyfriend’s roommate ran into the same situation last month. He called Time Warner Cable several times before being able to convince them that they had charged him twice. Finally, he was told he would receive a refund within 24 hours. It was two weeks before his account was credited.
Why the discrepency? No consumers in the Columbus area will hear the many calls my friend made to TWC, but the tweet I sent on June 3 is visible not only to the Columbus community, but the whole world. This is now part of the crisis communication PR professionals are trained in. Brands don’t want bad blood circulating around the web and the only way to rectify the situation is to create a timely resolution to the problem. In my case, TWC did, and therefore they received a tweet from me thanking them for their speedy solution to my problem. And while word of mouth is still a huge part of a brand’s communication strategy, it may no longer be a brand’s main concern.