Some use it well, some don’t

JetBlue responds well to Twitter. I know this because I watched Jonathon Maus of BikePortland blog a BTA staffer’s complaint about JetBlue’s handling of a folding bike, and later saw that JetBlue found out on it’s own and responded via Twitter. Final result? JetBlue changed it’s policy to a more folding-bike-friendly one.

That kind of customer service rocks. Does that surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me.

And reading it reminded me of a similar incident from last month. I didn’t blog about it at the time, but now I realize that I should. Good behavior should always be mentioned.

It started when J. D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly asked for input, via Twitter, on which online financial software was best.

I had used Mint but didn’t like it, and had just started using Quicken Online, a free service that interfaced with all my banks, showed me real-time what my balances were, and offered lots of ways to slice and dice the information. Did I mention it was free?

I’ve used the software version of Quicken for many years, but in recent years they seemed to abandon the Macintosh market; instead of the three different levels (and pricing) found on the Windows side, only the most expensive version was available for Mac OS X. I limped along by continuing to use the last version I got free pre-installed on my iBook, transferring the program to my new MacBook Pro, until it finally stopped working on the most recent version of Mac OS X.

So I’m very pleased with the free online version. It doesn’t have all the features found in the full install, but it has more than enough. For instance, it doesn’t handle cash accounts, and if you have a lot of stocks and bonds and investments you should probably pony up for the full version, you cheapskate (or pay your accountant better). Since I don’t have any stocks and bonds and investments (beyond my one share of AAPL that I own for philosophical reasons, I’m cool with it.

I summarized all that as best as I could in 140 characters or less.

The next day, Twitter user QuickenPRChels (if you can’t decode that, it’s a Quicken Public Relations person named Chels, probably short for Chelsea), thanked me, publicly, for the compliment.

Does that surprise you? It doesn’t to me. One of the things that makes Twitter great is that the vast majority of the conversation is public, and between the awesome search functions and the use of an RSS feed, it’s easy to find out if others are talking about a topic you’re interested in. I have searches for my own name and the name of my blog, for instance. Sadly, not many people talk about me unless they’re already my friend. But someday, someone’s gonna tweet something about me, and I will know. Hopefully it’ll be positive!

But, see, lots of people are likely to talk about large corporations, and Twitter, with it’s 140 character limit and “of the moment” feel, makes it easy to voice a complaint. So there are companies that have Twitter accounts, and they watch for complaints. That’s generally a good thing, unless the company in question just uses that channel to promote their products – that’s a losing strategy.

But actually responding to complaints and taking them to heart (as it were – corporations don’t have heart, but the people who work for them do) – that’s a step beyond.

Sorry for the background, but back to my story; when I saw that QuickenPRChels had thanked me for the compliment, I wasn’t sure if this was strictly PR, or if it was that one step beyond kind of service. I filed that away for future reference.

About a week later, Intuit “updated” QuickenOnline. But in doing so, they removed a simple feature that I liked; I had to click down another level or two from the main page to see the last time my bank account information had been updated. Did the total on the main page include my latest charges or not? Click, click, click – oh, there it is. Grr. I didn’t have to drill down in the old version.

Now was the time to find out about their customer service. I tweeted to QuickenPRChels my complaint. After a quick back-and-forth, which seemed mostly a limitation of the 140 character limit, I explained the problem.

And the next time I logged in to QuickenOnline, the last update time had been restored. Problem solved, and question answered. Intuit’s programmers were listening, and able to address customer complaints.

Does that surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me. Not anymore.