Admitting and responding.

Twitter has gotten really good at responding to issues. As a rapidly growing, high profile startup, they seem to have some sort of issue they need to address publicly every few months or so.

The last major response that I blogged about was back in June when Twitter was responding to criticism surrounding their less than perfect uptime and reliability. Yesterday, Twitter responded publicly in regards to 33 high-profile Twitter accounts being “hacked”.

Admitting that some of your highest profile users (including the future president!) have had their accounts compromised is no easy task. It is something the company realized they had to approach quickly and correctly, especially given the high profile nature of the company and the accounts that were compromised. Tens of thousands of people probably saw it happen, so Twitter had to respond. Responding quickly and publicly was the first thing Twitter did right.

Twitter did another thing right by responding with a terrific blog post. They provided a concise explanation of what happened (why and how the accounts were compromised, when they noticed it, and what they did) followed by an explanation of what they did to fix the immediate problem and what they are doing in the future. Additionally, they answered a question they were sure was going to be asked about the possibility of another technology preventing the sort of problem that occurred (it wouldn’t help, but they addressed the question regardless).

In less than 400 words, Twitter provided an excellent response that probably went a long way with most of the people who read it. When something happens that you know people will notice, make it a point to respond publicly. Do so quickly and sincerely. Let people know that you have addressed the immediate problem and that you’re working on making sure it doesn’t happen again and won’t affect them (again).

If you do make it a point to admit and then respond, your customers are likely going to respect your honesty and value your company’s transparency.

Thanks to Dan from Shoeboxed for sending me the link to the article earlier today.

2 Responses to “Admitting and responding.”

  1. David V. Greis said:

    Jan 07, 09 at 1:33 pm

    I totally agree that being responsive to the needs of the customer is paramount to running a healthy and vibrant business. All too often we run into situations where people hear what they want to hear and respond with works best for them but not the customer.

    In today’s economy, where businesses must fight for each new customer, and to keep existing ones, we must learn to be more responsive than every before.

  2. Service Untitled said:

    Jan 08, 09 at 12:06 am

    Thanks for your comment, David. Customers like responsiveness and when customers have choices, they are going to go with the company they like.