Putting Out Fires with Twitter

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    Extinguish customer concerns

    Citibank, like many others, was a victim of the recent flurry of computer hacking attacks that left customers confused and worried that their personal information and bank accounts were at risk. While several affected companies chose to focus on sending traditional paper mail statements regarding the attacks, Citibank went social, as described in this quote from a Walker Sands blog post by Meghan Reilly:

    Like many other Citibank victims, I turned to Twitter to relieve some frustration. I composed a tweet about the fraudulent purchases on my credit card, and also mentioned my disappointment with Citibank’s fraud prevention efforts. Ten minutes later, I received a mention from @AskCiti, the official Twitter ID for Citi Customer Service:

    “@MeghanReilly314, Saw ur tweet re: fraud & I’d like to ensure everything is being handled. Pls DM ur ph# & best time to talk.”

    I was pleasantly surprised that Citibank was managing Twitter as a customer service and crisis management tool. This tweet immediately changed my perception of Citibank, as well as how I felt about the identity theft I experienced from their data breach. I was confident that everything would work out and Citibank had the attack under control.

    Most people just want to know they’ve been heard. Taking to Twitter not only allows you to acknowledge this, but to move the conversation from public to private with ease, where you can then direct each issue individually, making for better service and more satisfied customers.

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training.]