Complain to the right person
If you want to complain about a company on Twitter, the first thing you want to do is make sure you have the correct Twitter handle in your sights.
It’s not simply a case of typing in a company’s name with an @ before it.
A famous example is @johnlewis. The account belongs to a computer science educator in the US who has to constantly inform shoppers he is not, in fact, a British retail giant.
Thank you. I keep telling my wife I'm excellent but she remains uncertain. I'm sure @johnlewisretail does fine work, too, btw. https://t.co/uJuo8e6KAI— John Lewis (@johnlewis) February 2, 2017
Search for a company’s name and “official twitter account” in Google, then check the most recent tweets.
This will help you verify it’s the right company and check whether it’s being monitored.
Big companies in particular will have dedicated Twitter accounts for responding to customer complaints. Look out for the blue tick to prove that a company is legitimate.
That said, some smaller companies and banks aren't verified so be extra vigilant here.
Photo credit: Asda / Twitter
How to compose your complaint
Be clear and concise when contacting the company.
Your argument will start to lose impact if it carries on over more than one tweet, and you obviously only have 140 characters to work with.
While you will rightly be annoyed at this company, avoid being rude. Stating the facts, or even using humour, is a far better way to get your message across. Try following AliRae934's lead.
Rather strange, prickly and unappetising rogue spinach leaf in my bag this morning, @Tesco ! pic.twitter.com/DB6PiKyiJa— Alison Rae (@AliRae934) March 20, 2017
Also, remember not to swear! Some brands have a policy that prevents them from responding to ‘abusive’ tweets.
Avoid revealing personal details wherever possible in tweets or replies: these should be discussed in direct messages only.
Can you reach more people with your tweet?
If you don’t hear back from them, ask a friend or family member with a lot of followers to retweet your complaint.
The more people that have seen it, the likelier you are to get a response.
You could also mention the relevant regulator or a news site (we’re always keen to help) – anyone who might help spur the company into action.
Once you get a response
Unless it’s a really straightforward issue, a company representative will generally ask you to direct message them with more details of your complaint or send your contact details.
@bryonyfwells Hi Bryony, this isn't good to hear. Please DM us more details on what's happened. We'd like to help: https://t.co/Xe5i4kfJ97— O2 in the UK (@O2) March 20, 2017
If this is an ongoing issue that you’ve already spoken to them about, it might be worth keeping the discussion public as they’ll be more likely to help out in a bid to avoid bad publicity.
If this is the first time you’ve contacted them and it’s a fairly complicated issue, by all means send on your details.
At this point we should reiterate the importance of ensuring you have the right company account, as scammers are increasingly using Twitter handles that look like to official company profiles with the aim of stealing your personal information.
How to escalate your complaint
If you have a legitimate complaint and you’ve explained yourself calmly and clearly, the company will more than likely resolve your issue.
Sadly this isn’t always the case, and you may need to escalate the issue to the Financial Ombudsman Service (assuming it’s a financial dispute, of course).
You can read more about that process at How to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
If Twitter's not your thing, learn more about Your rights when it comes to faulty goods, How to complain about your energy supplier and How to complain about your bank.
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