Customer Service ala Twitter Style

  • April 16, 2009

Micro-blogging site Twitter has exploded in popularity in recent months and more than doubled its unique visitors in March 2009 to 9.3 million. This is not year-over-year growth or even quarter-over-quarter growth. Twitter increased its traffic 131% from February to March. I knew I had to give it a shot when my barber asked me “What is this twitter thing?”. I created the account @specialsin and got sucked into twittersphere.

A few days ago I came across the twitter page (@windstream) of a company called Windstream Corporation (WIN) and was amazed by how effectively the company was using Twitter to stay in touch with existing customers, help resolve issues and try to sign up new customers. The name also rang a bell. When I checked through my emails I realized that a subscriber had mentioned this rural telecommunications provider to me back in October. He was a Windstream customer and felt that the stock looked attractive when it was trading in the $7 range.

I checked out some of the numbers on Windstream and while I am not too thrilled about the amount of debt the company has on its balance sheet, with a dividend yield of 12.1% and a payout ratio under 60%, the company is worth exploring further.

On the other end of the spectrum from $3.69 billion Windstream is kitchenette, a small San Francisco lunch spot serving “spontaneous organic covert nourishment” that a colleague introduced me to earlier this week. Kitchenette is also using its twitter page (@kitchenettesf) to connect with its customers in innovative ways by releasing its menu (changes daily) to “followers” and by engaging in conversations with its customers through twitter.

Two examples of companies riding the social media wave to connect with customers, improving their top line and hopefully their bottom lines as well.