Welcome back! I hope everyone had a healthy and happy holiday season. One of my colleagues, Raissa Evans, Senior Manager, Practice Growth, had a great story about how social media, specifically Twitter, saved her Christmas. I thought you all would benefit from hearing her story, which reinforces the power of social media.
How Twitter Saved Christmas
Like most consumers, I’ve always been a firm believer in value for my dollars. To me this means that although I diligently research the price and quality of products, overall the product experience counts just as much. As I think back a few weeks to the heyday of holiday shopping and making purchasing decisions over and over again, I wanted to share a story about a customer service holiday miracle:
When it comes to being prepared for the holidays, I’m the worst at procrastination. It always sneaks up on me no matter how well I plan, and it’s not out of the ordinary for me to be braving stores on Christmas Eve. This year, I caught up with it about a week in advance, hardly enough to do any online shopping unless the retailer made delivery promises.
On my list of final gift ideas was a Kindle 3 for my sister, who I would be visiting for Christmas. I caught Amazon just in time to use their free shipping for a guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery. You can imagine my delight, one less storefront to visit! Fast-forward a few days and 600 miles and I’m in rural Mississippi, on a night I’ve ordered pizza for the family. After 45 minutes of waiting, I realize I have 2 addresses for my sister, and I’ve delivered the pizza to the wrong house! That was fairly easy to correct and the pizza was still warm, but just before bed it hit me: I delivered the Kindle to the same address!
I called Amazon daily over the next 3 days to help me mediate with UPS, their delivery service, in order to correct the address. And even though I was given possible options of redirecting the package or holding it for pickup, they would say I was always calling at the wrong time, etc. Christmas eve came, and at 10am I still had no news, no guaranteed solution given. It’s important to take a minute to note that I was now in the town that the Kindle was being delivered to, AND that the difference between the two addresses was literally one half a block. I had even gone there to talk to the neighbors, in case it was left on their porch. The apex came when an unfortunate UPS worker told me, “There’s nothing we can do about it now, maybe if you’d have called three days ago…” After three days I was stressed out, disappointed, and dinner plans with family were hanging in the balance. Do I abandon the package, let it be delivered late and miss the look on my sister’s face when she opens it?
In frustration, I finally sent the following tweet to my 600+ followers:
“3rd call to @UPS for a simple delivery issue. 3rd run-around. It’s the big drawback of online ordering to rely on @UPS customer service.”
I began to exchange tweets with Chris Coleman, then a phonecall. He identified himself as a manager at the corporate office. I explained the drama over the last few days and ended with, “I understand this is ultimately my fault for typing in the wrong address. But I’ve got a fairly simple ‘real world’ situation here that should be easily fixed, and instead everyone keeps quoting policy at me.” We hung up with him promising someone from the local UPS office would call me back in an hour, and he left me his direct line. And they did call. And they did help, by arranging for me to meet the UPS truck driver locally to hand off the package. And Christmas was saved.
There’s a lesson in this, isn’t there? I reached a higher level of a big corporation who was in a position to help me because they were globally monitoring their brand at that level. Perhaps they will use such success stories to cross-train managers at an increasingly ground-level. Kudos to UPS and especially Chris Coleman for deserving an excellent Twitter customer service testimonial, and for saving Christmas.