Many thanks to  Quentin Fottrell for writing this informative article found via

Twitter provides consumers a way to publicly air customer service grievances, forcing companies to consider not only the complaint but how it will play among the millions of users listening in. But the social media site is now helping companies make some of those conversations with angry customers once again as private as a call to an 800 number.

For most Twitter users, it’s only possible to send a private “direct message” to a Twitter account that follows them, but the site has slowly been rolling out a way to allow anyone to send a direct message.

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U.K.-based marketing consultant Jim Connolly was one of the latest Twitter users to be offered the service. Under his account settings, he was given the option to click a “Receive direct messages from any follower” box. If it becomes standard, consumers will be able to contact customer service departments, politicians, public advocates and even journalists privately to discuss issues of a sensitive nature — in 140 characters or less. On the upside, “it makes it harder for customer service staff to say, ‘We didn’t see your tweet,’” Connolly says. (A spokesman for Twitter declined to comment.)

It may distinguish real complaints from trolls, Connolly says, and encourage more companies to set up dedicated customer service handles — especially as Twitter prepares to go public. Only 10% of brands respond to public complaints within an hour, a recent survey by data analysis firm Simply Measured found, and the average response time was 5.1 hours. Although 90% of major brands tweet, only 30% have a customer service handle. Connolly liked the option so much, he clicked it himself. “I’ve had about 500 direct messages and only one funny weirdo,” he says.

Also see: Martha Stewart and how not to complain on Twitter

Allowing more direct messages from consumers also gives companies an incentive to deal with a problem promptly — before a disgruntled customer goes public. “Companies really don’t want to get yelled at in public,” says Scott Kurnit, co-founder of, a service that works to remove email spam. “It will be interesting to see how much of the negative traffic goes private or whether people will still enjoy ratting out bad service and products in public.” That said, even private conversations can become public with one screen-grab of the conversation posted as a tweet.

Airing some dirty laundry in public, however, could alert other consumers who are having the same problem, says Kristina Durante, an assistant professor of marketing at theUniversity of Texas at San Antonio. Going public with problems related to your wireless carrier or delivery service, she says, can help drum up support among other users who are having the same problem. Connolly recently used Twitter to deal with a problem with his cellphone service — and had no option but to make his complaint public: “That means that the 7,800 people who follow me probably saw my tweet.”



We promote Good Customer Service at all times, however, we cannot overlook the fact that in all businesses across all industries you will find a certain group of Customers that seem to bring out the worst in you i.e BAD Customers.

Sometimes the art of providing Good Customer Service requires you to FIRE a Customer. Below we have listed a few different types so that you can identify and decide whether or not it is viable to keep them on your database.



– Prolonged Payer – From the first invoice you submit to their accounts department you are faced with roadblocks. Late Payment and Non Payment is a definite reason to FIRE your Customer!

– Chronically Complaining and Overly Demanding – In this Customers mind you will never be able to jump as high or offer as low a price according to their demands. They refuse to value the Good Customer Service you offer and ALWAYS expect more. FIRE your Customer!

– Time, Time, Time – Your time means everything to this Customer and he/she will make sure you are concentrating on their every whim 24/7 via Emails, Telephone Calls, Faxes, Texts, Meetings etc. This Customer wastes your time which could be spent on other Customers so FIRE them!

– Deadline Dancer – No matter how many times you proactively inform this Customer of the information you require in order to meet a deadline on their behalf, they will always wait until the last hour to submit and then expect you to work extra hard to complete the project. This Customer does not respect your advice nor time constraints and should therefore be FIRED!

– Liar Liar, Pants on Fire – This Customer will continuously ask you to lie for them. No need for us to elaborate further on this, get FIRING!

Once you have decided to FIRE a Customer ensure that all the documentation, records, outstanding orders / projects are up to date so that you can hand it to them and further avoid any uncomfortable contact. It is advisable to give a referral to a prospective provider, however, make sure you choose someone that will be able to handle your Customer’s Personality if at all possible.


How far back does Customer Service training go, or supposed to go?
Do you remember the first time you went to a bank to open an account on your own, or your first paperwork application form fill out? As daunting as the big bright world seemed then, it was exciting to feel independent, yet terrifying at the same time as immaturity set in.
Now imagine a bank that had a “First Timer” department, or perhaps a Doctors Office providing a “First Time Young Patient” application form, the accounts departments staff would be a lot happier don’t you think?
Matriculants are taught in their final year to start planning for their future, they are taught to think about furthering their studies or to start casual employment to gain experience, yet no one sets out to teach them how to open a bank account, or how to write a CV correctly. Our education system does not allow for them to be taught the basic rules of an interview process, yet we expect them to become stellar waitron staff and offer superb Customer Service at our Local Spur. How??
We teach our young children to be polite, to say thank you and please, to be respectful and have well kept manners at all times. Sounds alot like Customer Service to me???? Yet once they are thrown into the big world at the age of 18 we leave them to fend for themselves whilst expecting them to actively represent restaurants/coffee shops/hotels as “cheap” labour due to their lack of experience.
Business owners then become impatient due to the amount of Customer complaints and fire these youngsters. Great, another person added to my personal Tax contribution. So how can we change this?  Simple :
–  During an interview process with an 18 -20 year old, actively discuss your Company’s Customer Service Standards and Policies, explain in detail why Customer Service is important to you and allow them to ask any question.
–  Once you have hired an 18-20 year old allow them to attend a new employee orientation meeting – talk about the Company history, assign them to a “training/shadow” partner, and communicate to them who your heroes are. End your meeting with a discussion on what NOT to do i.e Lateness, abuse of Company Telephone etc.
This will be the 1st of many steps in successfully training them within Customer Service and will set the tone for their future dealings with customers and colleagues alike.
Contact our team today via to receive further Customer Service related tips and hints.


Sadly, as important as Customer Service is to ALL companies, many don’t afford any time or money towards Customer Service Training.
When we are approached by potential clients to help them identify their Customer Service Training needs we list the following as a “check-list” and encourage them to read through the below to help realise the importance and value of Customer Service Training:
1.       Poor service is the number one reason South African Companies lose business. 68% of Customers stop doing business with a Company because of poor service.
2.       90% of Customers that stopped doing business made no attempt to tell the Company why.
3.       70% of dissatisfied Customers never complain because they believe:
–          It’s not worth their time.
–          The business won’t listen.
–          The Company won’t do anything about the complaint.
4.       The average dissatisfied Customer will tell 9-10 people of their experience.
5.       It costs between 5 and 10 times as much to attract a new client as it does to keep an existing one.
6.       The first 60 seconds of contact establishes a Customer’s opinion about you and your Company – make it a good one, as first impressions don’t come around twice.
7.       Customers will pay more for better service
8.       95% of Customers will do business again with a Company that solved their problems efficiently and satisfactory.
9.       Every single person involved in your business is responsible for sales, and ALL sales result in excellent service.
10.   Customers will tell a business where it needs to improve, listen to them.
After reading the above it will become clear how valuable Customer Service Training is as well as the constant monitoring thereof. Contact us today via for further information on how to assess your Company’s Customer Service Check List.