Businesses apologising on Twitter – see anyone you know?

What is all this about?

For the last few months , I’ve been working on my startup (ServiceChat) and trying to understand how businesses do customer service on Twitter.

It has been a fascinating endeavour – it still is. I’ve learned so much  – mostly how not do it – but also seen some amazing individuals really engage with customers to try and solve their problems. I’ll blog about that separately – consider following me on twitter and signing up for my blogs.

In trying to peel away the noise, I built a tool to help me see the conversations I should be following and the businesses I should be talking to.  I would love to share that tool with you.  It’s called bizbuzz.


In many ways, bizbuzz is info-porn. But in the right hands  – it is actionable data. You can use it to decide to do business elsewhere, demand better service. Businesses can use it to decide to improve their engagement with their customers (I’m happy to share what I have learnt, drop me a line ).

Why are you sharing this?

Well, it’s based on publicly accessible data, only reframed in a certain way –  the public , especially customers of these businesses  , should see it.

Also, we are all consumers and for far too long businesses have paid poor attention to customers after they have taken their money – I want to end this. We each deserve to have fantastic service from the places we do business with.  Competition was supposed to let the ‘best’ rise to the top – it hasn’t. A lack of information is a primary cause of this, followed closely by a lack of care. My part is to help with the first bit and to trust that you will help with the second bit.

I would like you to ask the businesses you spend your money with to listen to you and quit wasting your time and burning your emotion. Demand that they meet you where you are and not funnel you into some queue that suits them, seek to have a human relationship with them instead of the scripted zombie systems they deploy to frustrate you.


What can I do with it?

Find the companies you are interested in. You can search for their names.  Have a giggle at their responses, guess which ones have auto-responders and the ones that genuinely respond.

Explore some of the conversations on Twitter, maybe reach out to some of their customers and show some empathy.

Bookmark bizbuzz and check to see how your businesses are doing. I’ll add an RSS feed soon.

Talk about this with your friends, share your stories.  Share them on here too (as comments). We all deserve better service, honestly!

Use your consumer power wisely. You do have choices, choose to be treated like a person – with respect and empathy. Make better choices.

But before you rush off to tell the world…

Don’t judge these companies too harshly – these are the ones that are actually on Twitter and respond to their customers (albeit many do it with autoresponders) – there are undoubtedly thousands who are not even on Twitter. There are those who are on and never respond.  However, I believe if they are on Twitter, they need to be effective and use the platform to its full potential to change customer experiences, not simply add it as another channel to frustration!

The search that drives the data on bizbuzz is tailored specifically at tweets written in English and which specifically include ‘Sorry email us’ or ‘Sorry DM us’.  It has been surprisingly effective at finding businesses offering customer service. Ask me if you want to know more.

Whilst I’ve been iterating on building bizbuzz, there have been inevitable gaps in the data. This is less than 100 tweets  over about 80 twitter profiles(out of over 8000 tweets and counting)- so makes very little statistical difference. It has been tracking non-stop for at least the last 12 days.


psst. The tech behind bizbuzz is really interesting too,  if you get turned on by that sort of thing (like I do), let’s have a chat.

May 28 – Data is Fascinating


I think I’m back in my stride!

Having got bizbuzz online, the data is flowing straight out of Twitter, of businesses that have the problem ServiceChat is designed to solve.  I’m getting the metrics to use in the conversation with these prospective customers.
It is providing amazing clarity and insight into the problems and I have learnt so much about the a worrying approach to corporate use of Twitter and in my opinion it is all wrong!!!  Businesses like Morrisons, Waitrose etc in the UK are missing huge opportunities in this space. Many use auto-responders (and I bet they sit in their boardrooms patting themselves on the backs for having a coherent social media strategy – please!!)

Wake up and smell the coffee, social media is not like anything you had before, trying to corral it into your traditional channels is going to cost you big time. Why are CIOs and CMOs not all over this?

Anyway – rant over…here is my check in (it is all glad!!)

  • Glad my data feed is online, 300+ prospects. Now, I’m the bottleneck.
  • Glad I decided against carpet-mailing my LinkedIn contacts , I now have targets and with a little effort I can narrow down the 20% who can get me to the decision makers in the businesses I want to speak to.
    Sometimes a hammer is not the only tool!
  • Glad the brainwave training stuff is working, I’m feeling less mentally fatigued, more alert and I think, quicker too.  I suspect fasting and exercise are also helping.
  • I’m grateful for Ruby on Rails.  I’ve been coding for nearly 20 years and it has never been easier to quickly make a beautiful  working version of something you imagined.  It is such a rich and giving ecosystem, that encourages me to give back to. So watch out for a Twitter reach gem, a beta marker gem.  They are all on my list.

I’m  in.

Improve On…

Keep to the schedule.

Increase automated code coverage on stuff that started as a hack.




My data reveals that, as of right now, there are 418 prospects from 766 unhappy customers, my strategy is to focus on the customers with most number of unhappy customers.

Today the major push is to have a conversation with a good cross-section of them, by the end of the week I want to have spoken/chatted with at least 20% of the customers of each of the top 5 target business in my data set.


The Trello board… is unchanged!


Be yourself, everyone else is busy.