Monday, March 23, 2009

Companies spy on Twitter

Although it's been around a while already, suddenly Microblogging service Twitter, is the talk of the town, overly hyped and going supernova with unsurpassed growth rates over 1300%. For those unaware of Twitter: It's nothing special. It lets you type 140 character messages to the world, or anyone who cares to read your digital farts.

Nonetheless, Twitter is getting more and more popular and getting a lot of mainstream attention as twitterers like @BreakingNewsOn often bring breaking news way ahead of traditional media. In its wake we've seen all sorts of people turning to twitter to get attention. When I say all sorts of groups, I really mean all sorts of groups. On the serious side we find (of course) Obama, the Governator, Dutch Royalty and Dutch politicians (find the list on for instance, and on the other side of the spectrum we find a list of pornstars who'd like more than 100 character lines in movies. Over the past months I've also seen an invasion marketeers on Twitter.

Most of Twitter's richness though comes from add-on applications that allow you to search on certain topics and handle multiple streams.

Due to its nature of 140 characters max per textmessage, people are often too honest, to blunt in their statements about almost anything and the number of stories about people who got into professional trouble after their boss picked up a tweet is growing. Online Marketing and CRM company Salesforce now adds to this, in offering a new service which helps companies to spy on Twitter.

Your Customers Are Talking in the Cloud.Where do customers go for service today? More and more often, it's not the call center. What used to be everyone’s favorite way to access customer service has become a jumbled mess of touch-tone navigation and poorly trained outsourced agents. It's no wonder customers are looking elsewhere. Today, real wisdom lives in the cloud. Web communities. Twitter. Facebook. Forums. Blogs. Google. The cloud is where customers are turning for service.

Salecforce just recently launched their Service Cloud offering (January), and promised it will include Twitter in the very near future, which basically means that you pay them a bunch for doing queries on Twitter. Companies will have to pay fees in excess of $ 1.000,- per month. After two months of service, Salesforce already registers 6.800 customers for their Service Cloud offering. According to Alexandre Dayon in a Venturebeat article yesterday, there is a huge interest in listening in on Twitter:

Most people on popular microblogging site Twitter (which just turned three) have probably seen customer service-type queries from other users — questions about how to make a product work, or complaints that it’s broken. I have even posted some complaints of my own. That’s one of the reasons companies like Google have created their own Twitter accounts, and its why is adding Twitter integration to its customer service product, which it calls the Service Cloud.

This, of course, is the positive, official view on the Service Cloud offering, the more realistic version is that companies want to know what is said about their products and service, not to help you, but to do damage control if a customer has been 'too honest'.

Of course, there are exceptions; official corporate representatives who are not on twitter to monitor comments on their company, but for the love of Twitter itself. These folks are usually very accessible and welcome comments about their companies.

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Blogger Roy Wasse said...

Just wanted to mention that Tweetbeep is a very cool free twitter app that sends email alerts containing all the Twitter posts that have a certain keyword you specified in them

So why pay Salesforce ;-) ?

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:31:00 PM  

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