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The dawn of the paid complaint

September 6th, 2013 by Lloyd Gofton



This week saw the beginning of a new trend in social, with a sponsored tweet complaining about BA’s customer service.

In case you missed it, Hasan Syed decided to use Twitter’s promoted Tweet function to post “Don’t fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous” in relation to the way British Airways was handling the issue of his father’s lost luggage.


Paid tweet

It was a brilliant move, not just because it reached BA, but because Hasan’s first mover status meant it was subsequently picked up by online and mainstream media.

He paid $1,000 (£640) to promote the Tweet, targeting New York and UK markets, and six hours after the tweet went live, it was picked up by Mashable,  which took the issue to a new level and brought it to the attention of the mainstream media.

However, it took another four hours for British Airways to pick up on issue, when they tweeted: “Sorry for the delay in responding, our twitter feed is open 09:00-17:00 GMT. Please DM your baggage ref and we’ll look into this.”

Whether the Tweet had an impact on the return of the luggage is not clear, but Hasan Syed’s luggage was returned a few days after the tweet went live.

So will we be seeing more sponsored Tweet complaints and the use of paid media to drive customer service issues? I’m sure we will, and if brands are happy to use paid media to promote services, then why shouldn’t customers do the same to make sure their complaints are taken seriously.



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