Smart companies know that twitter is where conversations (including conversations about them) are happening, and there’s much benefit to joining in. Engaging fans and earning referrals, smoothing over mistakes and saving lost business, and enticing potential customers to try them are all benefits from joining the conversation. But once you’re in the twitter room, it’s as rude and alienating to ignore customers talking to you as it would be if it were in person.
A particularly bad offender I’ve noticed is Bolt Bus. During a bad experience of my own last week, I tweeted at them three times over the course of three hours, only getting a response to my last tweet when I specifically said I could see them tweeting to others while they ignored the complaints of customers like myself and three others I mentioned by username. They never followed up with me after my reply to theirs, and as far I can see, never responded to the tweets of the others I mentioned.
Unfortunately, Bolt Bus is not alone. According to research by evolve24, 71% of customers who have complained on twitter have never been contacted by the company as a result of their tweet. Jay Baer has more excellent analysis and key stats from the survey: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-monitoring/70-of-companies-ignore-customer-complaints-on-twitter/
While I’m personally upset to be ignored, I hate to see a business failing so badly at customer service and marketing basics. Hundreds of Bostonians in Bolt Bus’ target market will have seen my tweets (and tweets from my colleagues who saw and agreed with mine). I’m only one of what looks to be many customers being ignored. With wifi + power outlet amenities heavily focused on appealing to the tech-savvy, tweeting crowd, I don’t see this going well for Bolt Bus.