Twitter users post all sorts of comments, but one kind of tweet is particularly common: complaints about poor customer service. Some companies respond. Some don’t.

To understand how the choice affects future consumer purchases, researchers collected more than 400,000 service-related tweets sent to U.S. airlines or wireless carriers from March 2015 to April 2016, identifying those that promoted a company response. They subsequently surveyed some of the customers responsible for the tweets along with a control group whose members had had no customer service interaction. Among customers who had tweeted to airlines, those who got a response said they would pay, on average, almost $9 more for a future flight with that carrier than members of the control group said they would pay – and as the graph below shows, the faster the company’s response, the higher the amount customers were willing to pay.


Responding to tweets

Graph source: Wayne Huang Et Al.

Source: Harvard Business Review, May-June 2018