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I’m a big letter writer.

Back in the day (hate saying that, but it seems so long ago) I would often write Letters to the Editor. My first Letter to the Editor was to Newsweek magazine when I was in Junior High School. And would you know, they actually published my letter in the front section of their magazine several weeks later. I was a rock star in my Junior High for about, oh, 5 seconds after that. (I mean, who in 8th grade reads Newsweek?)

I’ve written several Letters to the Editor here where I live and two of them have been published and a third, in fact, was published as a feature editorial with my own byline. I was writing to the editor to voice my dismay at the lack of manners the audience had at a choral and symphony performance. Imagine my shock when I opened up my newspaper and found this!

And then there are my little letter writing campaigns. I’ll write my congressman, write the Home Owner’s Association, write my utility company. You get the picture. I write a lot.

I’m not a complainer. Really, I’m not. My parents simply instilled in me to have a voice and use the means around me to make certain I was heard or at least had a chance to be heard.

My letter writing has slowed down a bit. I’ve become extraordinarily busy with life, with work, and perhaps no one has been bugging me lately. Except for Delta Airlines. They’ve made it virtually impossible to resolve issues on their website.

Over the weekend we needed to get a receipt from one of Steve’s flights he took a couple of months ago as well as the one earlier this month. (Steve likes to delete the receipts/confirmations he gets from the airline. sigh) We contacted Delta through their website and they sent a receipt for the April trip, but then wrote that in order to get a receipt for the February trip we had to pay (are you sitting down?) $20.

Completely dismayed, I walked out of the room in a huff. And then I thought, “Hmmm. I think I shall tweet about this!”

Not even 60 seconds later I got this message back:

Okay, so I have to confess: THAT IS REALLY COOL! (And I hardly ever use all caps.) It’s cool because it happened so fast and they wanted to actually help me. Not come up with another revenue-generating solution for themselves. Long story short, Delta Assist was able to help me and got me our receipt and I didn’t have to pay the $20.

So, I’m learning that the usual tools on the website for contacting customer service are not nearly as effective as tweeting, though I feel like using Twitter is a little manipulative. Delta knows the same thing that I know–that having loads of followers isn’t as important as who you have following you. I don’t have a lot of people following me on Twitter, but that’s by design. However, Delta does know that I have followers who have lots and lots of followers and there are a few following me who would be considered influential. Not to mention, I threw in a tasty hashtag (#travel), which I believe got them squirming a bit.

Just so you know, after Delta Assist helped me, I tweeted out a nice shout out.

Parting advice: Be nice, be adult and always say thank you. And don’t ever abuse the process. Sure, there are yahoos out there who will a) complain about everything and/or b) think they’re clever in their hateful attacks. Remember that once you say it you can’t take it back. Even if you delete it later it’s most likely already spread.

Question: Has the Twitter channel ever been a conduit for helping you resolve an issue with a business? Post comments below.