This summer, while preparing to decorate my house, I found a particularly unpleasant outbreak of wood rot in my daughters' playroom. After much prodding around and spreading of noxious chemicals I was unable to find the water source that creates such a problem. Knowing the financial implications and hassle involved I was, to put it mildly, hacked off. A couple of days later I received a letter from Thames Water to say they had found a leak in the street outside my home. Hardly great news but I was relieved to have found the cause of the rot. However, then came that sinking feeling at the thought of what was coming next. I’m sure you know the situation. A large organisation or company has done wrong by you. You know it. They know it. You know they know it. They know you know it. However, you also know that you are going to have to jump through many painful hoops to reach any sort of conclusion and your heart sinks. And so Thames Water's hoop-jumping began. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say it was everything I expected and dreaded. Endless emails and phone calls, constant repetition of my problems, surreal responses from people with odd job titles eg ‘leak co-ordinator’ (co-ordinator of leaks?). Questions about whether the leak (that Thames Water had pointed out to me) had ever actually occurred, random promotional offers thrown in for good measure, and the most mind-numbing, process-driven responses that go on for so long you can’t quite remember why you began and can’t imagine ever finishing. We’ve all been there right? What's more, as if to rub salt in the wounds, about half way through this miserable experience I received some promotional materials from Thames Water explaining how I could save water by, for instance, not running the tap whilst cleaning my teeth. Now being aware that Thames Water had caused a small river to run under my house, I took exception to this and expanded my circle of outrage to Twitter adding : ‘I'm less inclined to follow Thames Water's water-saving advice since finding their leak under our house flowing at 250k litres per year.’ However, following that tweet, much to my surprise I received a response from @thameswater asking how they could help. I replied that I was already ‘speaking’ to the customer relations department and left it at that. Secretly I thought that, however much I enjoy Twitter, it was unlikely that the person running the company’s Twitterfeed would be in a position to actually help. Anyhow, further miscommunication, confusion and frustration ensued with Thames Water until a couple of weeks ago when I once again turned to Twitter to vent my frustrations about the lack of progress. ‘3 months on, it turns out that @thameswater haven't heard a single word....*sighs*’, I tweeted. Once again I received a response from @thameswater asking to help. This time, with the lawyers briefed and the feeling I had literally nothing to lose, I reached out and asked the mysterious @thameswater if they could help me find another way beyond the Kafkaesque world that is the company's customer relations department. And guess what? They did. The very next day the Director of Customer Services, no less, at Thames Water emailed me asking me what the problem was. He then apologised for the company's lack of responsiveness and by the end of that same day had organised the visit from the loss adjusters that is required to bring about any resolution. As I write the matter is still a long way from being resolved and many niggling issues remain. However, I have escaped the miserable merry-go-round that is Thames Water’s ‘customer relations’ department. A ride I was beginning to feel would eventually suck any remaining sanity I might have retained about the matter. And that was all thanks to twitter.com/thameswater. Three months of being passed around from pillar-to-post through a bureaucratic, mind-melting minefield resolved in twenty-four hours by an exchange on Twitter. Who would believe it?