Monday, August 3, 2009

XI's Technology Report: Best Buy + Twitter = Twelpforce!

Monday, August 3, 2009

As a self-proclaimed nerd, I often try to keep up with what’s going on in the world of technology. So, from time to time, I will be featuring XI’s Technology Report from various news sources and blogs, and of course my thoughts on the topic will be featured as well.

First up…

Best Buy + Twitter = Twelpforce!

Best Buy and Twitter have united! Twitter has become the fastest way to update and connect with people, and Best Buy has become one of the first specialty retailers to capitalize on Twitter’s social appeal. “The goal of Twelpforce is to share our knowledge and give people the information they need to make a decision,” Best Buys states on its website. How it works: if you have a tech-related question, add @Twelpforce to your tweet when asking your question and a Best Buy employee on Twitter will reply to you. It’s a first in online customer service communication using the free networking service, especially in a world where much of our research and purchases are done via the worldwide web.

Launched July 19th, Twelpforce has reportedly been in test with more than 700 registered employees, with more of them signing up daily. Best Buy is urging all of their employees to handle online customer service through Twitter. Best Buy states:

The promise we’re making starting in July is that you’ll know all that we know as fast as we know it. That’s an enormous promise. That means that customers will be able to ask us about the decisions they’re trying to make, the products they’re using, and look for the customer support that only we can give. And with Twitter, we can do that fast, with lots of opinions so they can make a decision after weighing all the input. It also lets others learn from it as they see our conversations unfold.

When you start, remember that the tone is important. Above all, the tone of the conversation has to be authentic and honest. Be conversational. Be yourself. Show respect. Expect respect. The goal is to help. If you don’t know the answer tell them you’ll find out. Then find out and let them know.

Best Buy’s practical tips to employees also include identifying oneself as a Best Buy employee, not asking for personal customer information (even in direct messages), don’t be pushy in trying to convince someone to buy consumer electronics from Best Buy, apologize for any delays and misunderstandings, etc.

Now, I AM XI is pro-Twitter and everything that’s affiliated with it because I’m on it constantly and I get it! However, there isn’t much information on for customers who aren’t familiar with Twitter and who may want a clearer understanding of how Twelpforce really works; all the help on Best Buy’s website is geared toward assisting the employees on signing up. Perhaps that’s why they haven’t generated much buzz about Twelpforce yet, because Best Buy can have thousands of employees signed up but if no customers are using this service then it's a *fail*. The strategy seems well thought out if Best Buy wants to connect with Twitter users only and not all Best Buy customers and/or potential customers. So, I'm assuming that Twelpforce is just another customer service method for Best Buy that could potentially improve their customer service ratings. But, customers need to know that there are Best Buy employees on Twitter awaiting their questions. Best Buy cannot use Twelpforce as the only means of connecting with Best Buy customers, as stated above, because it won't work. I suppose this is why Best Buy began airing these two television commercials in order to connect Twelpforce with the masses:

What are you thoughts on it? Would you utilize this service?

Also, just an FYI, I tweeted a question about finding a good iron at a reasonable price over an hour ago @Twelpforce, and I have yet to get a tweet response back which is unheard of on Twitter because usually people reply within seconds of being tweeted. The point is to get a quick response back in 140 characters or less from 1 of over 700 employees across operations at Best Buy, or so I thought. So, I’ll keep you updated on whether or not my question was answered and how Twelpforce was able to assist me, because only time will tell whether this new way of communicating online with customers will work out for Best Buy.

Check out for more information (or lack thereof) as well as

You can also find me on Twitter at


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