Of course you should but there’s a problem when you do it too enthusiastically.
Last week I used the Gatwick Express for a trip to Brighton.
It was a journey I’d never used before and I wasn’t sure what times the trains ran.
The website wasn’t particularly helpful – it was hard to find information relating to Brighton. Everything is based around whether you’re travelling from Gatwick to London or London to Gatwick. I was doing neither.
I turned to Twitter and was met with replies to customers along the lines of ‘yes, that service is currently running’. ‘At the moment the 1715 will run’.
There were dozens of messages like these. Good, timely replies to customers.
But the impression I got was that this was a day of disruption and the business was firefighting loads of enquiries from customers who thought their trains were going to be delayed or cancelled.
The reality was everything was fine. It was a normal day and lazy customers, having been trained by the company to expect a personal reply to every Tweet were using it as a personal timetable checking service.
And that’s fine, if that’s how you want to run things but the problem comes when someone like me comes along using it for the first time and it met with a deluge of status updates on the main channel. I got so far as telling my wife ‘I don’t think we can use this today, there seems to be a lot of disruption’. Only after some further checking did I realise everything was OK.
So…if you’ve got a status update page you need to train your regular customers to use it. Being friendly and social is fine but if it puts new customers off or sends out a misleading message then it’s worth a re-think. Your regular customers should perhaps be given access to a private, well moderated Facebook group where they can receive the level of personal treatment some of them seek through Twitter.