AT&T vs Georgio and the power of social media

An interesting case study in both the power of social media and how companies are taking it seriously comes from disgruntled AT&T customer Georgio Galante. Galante was upset with his data plan on AT&T, and wrote two emails of complaint to AT&T’s CEO. Shortly afterwards, he got a call from an AT&T Executive Response rep telling him that if he personally emailed the CEO again, they’d issue him with a cease and desist letter. In the old days, Georgio would probably walk away with his tail in between his legs. Nowadays, thanks to social media, the power between business and customer is levelling. Through Twitter and his blog, Georgio’s story went viral (it was featured on Engadget among a host of other tech and general news sites), with the end result being that AT&T apologized personally to Galante for what had happened.

Three observations here:

  1. US businesses like AT&T are quickly realising the potential damage a customer can do if they are a) disgruntled and b) are blogging and/or on Twitter.
  2. AT&T’s response time was extremely fast and that’s why damage was relatively contained – it took only a single day from when Georgio’s story went viral to when AT&T apologised to him.
  3. A cease and desist letter for emailing the CEO? Overreaction, much? Can just imagine the bollocking that the AT&T rep who made the call must have got.