Rumblings on Social Media, Clogged Pipes & Health

Many of you I’m sure have seen the below tweet about a plumber coming out to my place to give me an estimate for a replacement of a kitchen sink (with installation of new faucet and disposer):

Tweet about RotoRooter

RotoRooter has never responded back (even though they are very active on Twitter). But a friend recommended trying to find a plumber through Angie’s List, and they tweeted right back offering a coupon to use should I decide to give their membership a try. I may very well do so some time soon, but for now — great job on’s part monitoring what is being said about them in the Social Media! Especially shines in contrast with the RotoRooter’s silence.

Has anyone else noticed that in most instances when you tweet a complaint, or something negative about a company, you do not get an open response? I’ve had this happen with Starbucks once before too (and I had a really serious incident to report/deal with). Just silence… I guess, they don’t know that negative reviews increase sales too; but most importantly, when addressed properly, build a brand up (instead of hurting it).

Well, today I got started on this exciting project (replacing an old cast iron sink with a stainless steel one, and installing a nice new faucet and a more powerful in-sink garbage disposer). The job turned out to be much harder than I thought (the old sink was not only terribly heavy, but also very well glued to the countertop), and required an extra trip to a home improvement store, but I’m done with the most difficult part of the job, and should have it all finished by lunch tomorrow.

Clogged pipeOne thing that I got reminded of while removing the old pipes is my health. Yes, you’ve read it right. Our pipes didn’t look as bad as the pipe shown on the right, but they were also clogged with grease, and this reminded me of an analogy I’ve heard some time back. If we don’t take care of our health, eat greasy foods, don’t exercise and don’t monitor our cholesterol levels, our our arteries get clogged just as badly. I must admit, I haven’t checked my cholesterol level in years. I don’t eat bacon, hardly ever have steak, and do exercise, but my kitchen pipes reminded me that I need to check my cholesterol, and monitor what’s going on in my own body more carefully/systematically.

Now it’s time to get some rest… See you all again tomorrow, my faithful readers. Enjoy your weekend!

3 thoughts on “Rumblings on Social Media, Clogged Pipes & Health”

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  2. I handle the tweeting and Twitter monitoring for Roto-Rooter and I can honestly say that I never saw your tweet about your sink and price quote on Twitter. I search our name and various related key words a couple of times a day and normally respond to such things right away. I would have gotten back to you if I had seen your tweet.

    A Google Alert that came in over the weekend linking me to this page and it is the first I’ve heard of your question / concern. Maybe that speaks to the growing pains Twitter is experiencing or the limitations of the medium. I’m not really sure. So I just did a search on Twitter and it still doesn’t turn up your post. But the records only go back so many days before flashing a warning that older tweets “are not available at this time.” I even went to your profile and tried to find your post only to get a similar warning: “Something went wrong, please try again.” Whatever the reason, your post slipped through the cracks but it wasn’t because Roto-Rooter chose to ignore you.

    I think the point here is that a company can be as proactive as possible on social media and still miss comments or complaints in some far flung corner of Twitter or Facebook. To our credit, if you wanted a fast, formal and immediate response, you could’ve gone through more reliable, though less public channels. Our web site contact form being the most obvious way to reach us but also by phone or email. Our customer satisfaction manager is available on a corporate level but so are our general managers on a local level.

    Social media is great but it’s not exactly the fastest, most direct or reliable way to get the desired quick and thorough response. Especially a medium like Twitter that is often unavailable due to being “over quota” several times a day. We try hard to see everything but we’re not perfect and neither are these social network platforms.

    In order to check to see if the price quoted to you is out of line, I’d need to know more about where you’re located. Your profile shows your location to be “NoVA USA.” Is that Northern Virginia? It’s not exactly clear to me. The name of your town or your zip code would be most helpful. Roto-Rooter prices for all plumbing jobs vary by city and region but our prices are always in line with our similarly-sized local competitors in every market. We use flat rate pricing, which means you’ll pay the same for a specific type of job whether it takes thirty minutes or five hours. This information may also be helpful:

    I apologize for missing your tweet. if you would like to go through our customer satisfaction manager for a thorough inquiry made on your behalf, please contact Pat Swanson at [email protected] or toll free at 866-578-0007.

    Warmest Regards,
    Paul Abrams
    public relations manager

  3. Wow, Paul, this is definitely an exemplary response to a mention of your company’s name in Social Media. Not sure why you do not see my post on Twitter, but it’s located right here, and you should also see it by going to (while logged into your Twitter account) and pulling tweets of October 13, 2009 with @RotoRooter in them.

    Yes, I am in Northern Virginia, but no, no follow-up on this quote is required. I’ve managed to do it all (from start to finish all by myself; acquiring useful knowledge in the process). So, thank you for making me teach myself some advanced plumbing. 😉 I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

    One thing I still do not understand though is why the following two jobs cost this much:

    * Installation of new garbage disposer – $284.00 >> took me no longer than 30 minutes to do by myself, and keep in mind that was doing this for the first time in my life!

    * Repiping of kitchen sink – $205.00 >> took me around 20 minutes to complete (again – first time ever).

    The link that you’ve referred to positions the up-front written estimate as a competitive advantage. The article ends with:

    “Occasionally, we hear from flustered customers who say something like “sure, he fixed the sump pump perfectly, but it only took him 20 minutes and he charged me $200! I think this is way too much for the time it took him to make the plumbing repair.” That is the downside to flat-rate pricing. If our guys are too good or too fast, the customer comes away feeling he was taken. But we maintain that flat-rate pricing is much fairer to the customer than hourly pricing.”

    Sounds exactly like the question I’m asking. It may be broader than just the Roto-Rooter’s services… Add the above two estimates, and you’ll find out that plumbing services cost $500+ an hour. Whew… Now that I know how to do it, maybe it’s time for me to think in the direction of changing my occupation?

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