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Twitter and customer service: My personal experience

Twitter Is Twitter the next Facebook or YouTube -- in terms of being a social media service that is next to have a sky-high valuation?  That was a central question explored by Fortune's Adam Lashinsky in an article about the company last week. His article was the latest in a wave over the last three months in mainstream media. 

The common thread of all these stories was why Twitter should matter to businesses and to the average consumer. Lashinsky explored the opportunity for marketers to pay for ads on Twitter's new search engineABC News and New York Times (and others) have focused on Twitter as a new customer service channel, with Comcast and H&R Block being the most prominent examples.

It's this application of Twitter I find most interesting, but I've questioned how scalable and accessible it is. That question was partially answered by my first personal experience with customer service through Twitter. It occurred last week and it came from a company for whose product I don't even pay. 

Bloglines is my preferred RSS reader. I find it the easiest to manage and the most intuitive to use (the beta version). What I like most about it, though, is its search service. For blog monitoring, I have found it to be the most thorough and all-inclusive, and the fact that I can subscribe to searches about clients and have them alongside my other feeds makes it very efficient and an everyday tool for my job. (The comparison between blog monitoring using a reader vs. an expensive analytics service is a whole other discussion I won't get into here.)

Last week, the Bloglines search service stopped working. It didn't return any results for any of the searches I set up. I gave it a day before I looked into it. On the second day, I decided to scan the beta support forum to determine if there was any problem. I couldn't find any reference to it, so on a whim, I decided to tweet about the problem thinking that maybe others in my Twitter network experienced the same problem and would provide any advice. I certainly didn't expect that within 30 minutes I would receive a reply from someone with Bloglines' support team.  But that is what happened, as @AskChristian, a Bloglines support person, sent a reply Tweet offering to help.  Later that day, the problem was solved.


Considering Bloglines is a free service, I was very tempted to switch to Google Reader (which I wasn't happy about because I haven't found its search to be as good). But this kept me a happy user of the service and further sets Bloglines apart in my mind.

Have you had a personal Twitter customer service experience?  If so, what was it?

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