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Tweets: A Smarter Way to Collect Customer Feedback Than Surveys?

Tweets: A Smarter Way to Collect Customer Feedback Than Surveys?

Surveys had always been a popular method for collecting and analyzing data. Whether it is for a study or customer feedback, surveys prove to be helpful. 

However, these days, people tend to avoid surveys altogether. This occurrence, in turn, impacts response rates. Thus, service providers find it difficult to get reviews. For instance, according to a study done by Pew Research Center, the response rates on telephone surveys have been reduced to 6% in 2018. This percentage is 30% less than the response rates from 1997.

Tweets: A Smarter Way to Collect Customer Feedback Than Surveys?

This phenomenon is survey fatigue. It has caused nothing but detrimental effects regarding getting feedback from customers. Aside from affecting the total quantity of responses gathered, survey fatigue also affects the quality.

With that in mind, an alternative solution is most welcome. Here is where tweets come in. Joe Rice, Data & Enterprise Solutions, EMEA at Twitter, performed a simple experiment to prove that Twitter can help solve this problem.

Joe Rice’s Experiment

Joe’s experiment aimed to see how tweets can serve the same purpose as surveys. To do this, he chose a specific type of business- one whose success relies on the experience of its customers. He picked the airline travel industry and put focus on one carrier. Furthermore, he decided to look at the tweets only from a specific timeframe. 

In his experiment, he found out that the airline was mentioned 70,000 times on Twitter in January 2020. 70,000 is a large number and so it allowed him to continue using the airline for the experiment. He then sorted out these tweets into three categories: preflight, inflight, and postflight experience. 

Here are some of the data that he got and revealed in his blog post:


Five hundred and sixty-seven (567) tweets mentioned app check-in, visa checks, and bag drop.

Four hundred and forty-three (443) tweets mentioned food quality, shower cleanliness, and staffing.

Tweets: A Smarter Way to Collect Customer Feedback Than Surveys?

Two hundred and twenty-three (223) tweets mentioned express boarding and shuttle buses.


Thirty-four (34) tweets mentioned connectivity issues with the wifi or the complete lack of this service.

Twenty-seven (27) tweets complained about small or dirty video screens.

Three hundred and seventy-two (372) tweets complained about the lack of vegan options, pricing, and selection regarding food quality.


Three hundred and seventy-four (374) tweets complained about delayed, lost, and damaged baggage.

Four hundred and thirty-eight (438) tweets mentioned air-mile collection and usage policies.

One hundred and thirty-one (131) complained about confusing rules.

These tweets are already 2600 pieces of customer feedback. And, these are only answers to questions that have the potential of appearing on surveys. Some tweets have revealed information that could not have come up using the traditional method. Joe also disclosed some of these on his blog. 

Tweets: A Smarter Way to Collect Customer Feedback Than Surveys?

From the tweets, Joe has found out that an elderly parent struggled following the prompts on the check-in kiosk. One person also asked why there is no pay-as-you-go option for onboard wifi purchases. These concerns may have never been raised in a regular survey unless there is space left for remarks. Though there is only one instance for each case, this could still serve as helpful feedback. Other examples of small but relevant tweets raised concerns about the number and placement of electrical plugs, and the way of purchasing gluten-free meals. All of these tweets count as constructive feedback that the airline could use to improve its services. 

Comparison between Tweets and Surveys

If there is something Joe Rice’s experiment has proven, it is the usefulness of social media in data gathering. In this case, specifically, tweets could be used as an alternative or in addition to surveys. With the utilization of buying real followers on Twitter, businesses can collect data from their customers that would serve as feedback. The best part is, they do not have to make them answer surveys to get this information. Especially since survey fatigue is prevalent in this era, surveys have a great potential of being ignored. Perhaps this is because people feel like it is a hassle to answer these surveys. They feel “forced” and solicited.

On the other hand, people post tweets voluntarily. They were put up on the internet because customers needed a way to express themselves. Most of these tweets are also posted while the customer is currently in the moment. In a way, one can say these tweets are real-time feedback. They bring the service providers information about how the customer feels while the events are happening. This type of feedback is more valuable than feedback collected through surveys. What sets them apart is the accuracy. Since the tweets are sent while at the moment, it is easier for the customer to describe exactly what he/she feels. This is in comparison with a survey sent 

]days later wherein the customer would have to recall and remember what happened.

Additionally, Twitter is continuous when surveys are one-time-only deals. Once a company sends out a survey and, the responses are collected and gathered, the survey is done. Twitter does not behave like that. It is always open and available. So, customers can express what they feel about the service anytime they want to. This is something business owners should keep in mind when looking for customer feedback. Twitter, and social media in general, have this strength that they should not underestimate.


Social media networks are probably the biggest trend on the internet right now. This trend has been going on for several years now and does not seem to go away anytime soon. The main source of their popularity came from their ability to connect with people. But time and time again, social media proved to serve a purpose that is more than that. In this case, it showed how Twitter can be used as a tool by the consumer-focused industry. Joe Rice’s simple research is just an example of how to use Twitter as an alternative to the traditional approach to things. With the amount unique features social media networks have, it is easy to say that they have other possible uses that are waiting to be discovered. 

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Published on: 10 June 2021
Posted by: Joy P
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