Can't get a real person on the phone? Tweet your complaint!

The Twitter homepage appears on a screen in Washington.

TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: It turns out a lot of air travelers didn't have to wait until next year to get home, after all. Airlines are reporting they've pretty much finished re-booking tens of thousands of passengers whose flights were canceled by the nasty winter storm over the Christmas weekend. Some of those stranded travelers have complained and gotten help using 140 characters.

Marketplace's Adriene Hill reports.


Adriene Hill: Twitter. It's a great place to vent. Just ask college senior Alex Bruno. He says Delta lost his luggage -- and he called, and called, without answers. So he tweeted.

Alex Bruno: Dear @delta, please find my bags. I need my clothes back. Thank you. #flyingsucks

And, within an hour-someone from Delta Assist, a team of Twitter-trained customer service agents, tweeted back-apologizing and linking to contact information for the baggage department.

It hasn't gotten Bruno's clothes back, but, he says:

Bruno: At least they were there to say sorry.

Delta spokesperson Susan Elliott says Twitter is another way for the airline to be in touch with customers -- sometimes really, really, frustrated customers, especially during this recent snow storm.

Susan Elliott: At Delta Assist really helps as an escape valve to help some of those customers that really needed the most immediate assistance.

It wasn't just Delta, savvy Twitterers were able to rebook flights and get assistance from JetBlue. And a lot of companies from Comcast to Microsoft recognize the importance of this sort of customer service. Paul Gillin is social media and marketing expert.

Paul Gillin: The frontlines of customer service are moving to Twitter because of its speed and the realization that when people have problems they want to get them resolved right now.

One worry Gillin has about the trend? Quick responses to our grumpy tweets could mean that we're all primed to complain.

I'm Adriene Hill for Marketplace.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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