DellI read with interest a post on Emily Hill’s blog about Dell claiming to have made £6.5m from their Twitter activity. Well done. Dell! Twitter is very useful as a sales channel/tool, I’ve previously written about how it’s been really useful to me in growing KashFlow.

Whilst Dell seem to be doing very well from Twitter on the sales front, they’re doing considerably worse with using it for customer service or brand monitoring. It’s in the brand monitoring stakes that Twitter comes into its own. Where else can you be instantly informed about a dissatisfied customer having a moan about you?

A number of big companies have sussed this out already and are very good at looking out for unhappy customers or would-be customers and nipping the problem in the bud. Some companies even have a dedicated Twitter or social media team that are highly responsive. Whether this two-tiered approach to customer service is healthy or not it a debate for another day.

If you tweet something negative about Virgin Media, Rackspace or (dare I say it) Sage, their Twitter team will pick it up pretty much instantly and do their best to help you out.

Vodafone are a little slower (see “It’s over, Vodafone. I’m leaving you“) but still making an effort.

Dell just don’t seem to care at all.

I had a whinge on Twitter (as you do) about problems trying to place an order with them and then with actually getting an order date that didn’t move every week. Even directing messages directly to Dell didn’t illicit a response.

I’m not alone. @NetHosted has been having, and tweeting about, a whole myriad of issues in dealing with Dell and just gets ignored by them.

By sourcing sales leads from Twitter, they’re only going to make the problem worse. These new customers, by the very nature of where Dell got them in the first place, use Twitter. So if they’re not happy, you can be sure they’ll be tweeting about it.

Watch out for the Dell backlash, it’s coming.

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