Windstream and Twitter: A Case Study in the Democrat-Gazette

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette telecom writer Bill Hornaday today looks at how Windstream Corp. of Little Rock is using Twitter to interact with customers online.

It’s the classic “Twitter news story,” in which we learn about some weirdly named service on the Web, hear how fast it’s growing, meet executives who aren’t all that sure what the big deal is but feel compelled to sign up anyway, hear a university professor from somewhere point out the service’s downsides, and get musings on its staying power — which leads to a great pop-culture reference!

Only time will tell if Twitter benefits companies or it’s merely – as comedian Joel McHale of E!’s The Soup put it – the “digital macarena.”

But to me, the point is moot as to whether Twitter is fad. The point it, it’s popular now. People are using it now. And it’s influencing a lot of online discussion. For some companies — including those like Windstream that relies on providing top customer service — not to be on Twitter now is probably a missed opportunity.

Here, the telecom seems to be following the now legendary Comcast Cares Twitter model, thr0ugh which companies monitor Twitter for discussion about Windstream — good, bad and ugly — and, when appropriate, seek to help customers who might have had a bad experience.

Comcast’s Frank Eliason, via @ComcastCares, has helped improved Comcast’s less-than-stellar customer service reputation by doing that very thing. Kudos to Windstream for diving in to the online discussion.

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