Social media is a powerful tool.  Just today, a fake tweet about a bombing at the White House was sent out and the stock market immediately nose-dived.  After the rumor was squashed, stock prices immediately rebounded.  Business leaders that don’t already embrace the power of social media should keep an eye on Hertz.  The car rental company has partnered with Conversocial and is now helping resolve customer complaints via Twitter.

Conversocial CEO Joshua March was recently interviewed for a Business Insider article, “It is time to get over this misconception that brands can ignore tweets about their brand because social media is relatively inconsequential in comparison to other channels like phone or email.” 

March has the statistics to back up this statement, “A study that we commissioned with NYU researchers we commissioned last year found that 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from companies when they discover they ignore customer complaints online. With Twitter increasingly becoming a prominent means of communication between consumers and corporations, brands must respond to negative tweets rather than sweep them under the rug.”

I’ve used Twitter to resolve a complaint and the company involved quickly responded to my satisfaction; and I know I’m not the only Twitter user that has used this social media site to lodge a complaint or even share a compliment.

A quick look at the Hertz Twitter account shows the customer complaint process in action:

While Willie’s issue would have been better addressed to someone physically on site at Nashville International Airport (BNA) or possibly even through a phone call to Hertz, I do give kudos to Hertz for responding to Willie’s tweet with an offer of assistance.  I’ve seen some long lines at rental car counters and when you travel often enough to earn Gold status, you expect Gold service.  Perhaps Willie’s tweet will ensure that the same issue doesn’t crop up at the BNA Hertz location again.

I think that Hertz is on the right path and in time, as the practice of using Twitter as a customer resolution center evolves, companies like Hertz will have a leg up on their competitors that are late to the social media customer service game.

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