Crikey, there are so many ways to contact companies these days it makes my head hurt. Firstly this week I have been dealing with British Gas who cocked up about something. I emailed them, then moaned about them on twitter. Within hours the twitter team had resolved my problem, they were brilliant, I didn't even tweet them directly, they just picked up on the mention. Which is probably their job. I am still waiting for a reply to my email, and hilariously was sent a survey about the response to my email. You can imagine how I filled that one in!
Then today. I inherited an iPhone off a family member who died. I was loathe to use it until recently when my old phone started cutting calls off every time my ear went anywhere near the screen. I was on the same network so I thought it wouldn't be too hard. Queue a long afternoon. I went online to talk to the "O2 guru" and thought I'd resolved the problem. Then realised I hadn't. Turns out the phone is locked to O2 Ireland which isn't the same, so I had to go to them and start all over again. A nice Irish man seems to have understood what I was telling him and claims it will be unlocked in 2 days. We shall see.
Both times I dealt with the companies online, I'm not paying for a phone call or to spend my afternoon in a queue waiting to be answered somewhere in India. My problems were resolved, but oftentimes I wonder if the person at the other end is actually reading my messages, I spent a lot of time rehashing the same thing, and only on the 4th person am I a little bit confident they have sorted it. Twitter is the best forum to get problems sorted quickly, I contact our water board, electricity board, and gas board straight on there and don't bother using any other means of contact anymore. Explaining your problem in 140 characters can be challenging though. And I suspect as more people twig the service will get busier and less useful, but shh, don't tell anyone!