January 25, 2013 Leave a comment
One of the funniest scenes in the recent Seth McFarlane movie Ted is when the titular ursine character crashes his car and then offers this feeble apology to his victim. This incident reflects the ubiquity of Twitter everywhere from business, to politics, to running.
My SMB Matters colleague Richard Lee recently mused about the US Postal Service’s poor customer relationship management practices. In contrast, I’d like to share an episode that illustrates exemplary customer service, enabled in large part through Twitter.
Take the Good, Take the Bad
I’ve mused before about the consulting profession, wherein the unparalleled intellectual opportunities, exposure to diverse organizations, and network building co-exist with the challenges of a peripatetic lifestyle. As I’d noted at Built in Chicago, there are a host of products to help manage these issues, but at the end of the day they can still be taxing.
It goes with saying that the hotel stay is a central element of the consulting lifestyle. On the recommendations of a few colleagues, I recently stayed at a DoubleTree. The burnt cod and limp, flavorless asparagus I had for dinner at the hotel restaurant one evening left much to be desired. My dissatisfaction was compounded by two other factors that greatly reduced my productivity:
- Dysfunctional wireless service that made the days of dial-up seem like science fiction
- Disinterested waiters whose turnaround time would frustrate even Rip Van Winkle
Inspired by Dave Carroll’s now-classic video diatribe against United Airlines, I took to social media to voice my discontent, firing off this angry tweet:
— Nikhil Torsekar (@torsekar) January 15, 2013
Barking up the Right Tree
While I’d previously used Twitter for a variety of purposes, customer service hadn’t been on the menu. DoubleTree definitely changed my viewpoint that evening. They quickly responded to my tweet, sent me an email, called me, and made every effort to rectify the situation. The pièce de resistance was an assortment of wine and cheese waiting for me that evening in my hotel room, along with a handwritten letter of apology. A cursory glance at their Twitter feed reveals that it is standard operating procedure for DoubleTree to keep close tabs on all customer feedback (positive and negative) and respond quickly.
Obviously, for a hotel with so many locations, (along with the fact that there are many travelers with axes to grind and Twitter accounts), there is a high degree of automation to the process. Nonetheless, the human followup was excellent, and a nice contrast to the disinterested “yeah, not our problem” responses I’d previously received from the front desk.
Not a Game Changer, But…
Between the two hotels I’d recently stayed at, I definitely preferred the Marriott to the DoubleTree – mainly because of the high number of Marriott Rewards points I’ve socked away over the years. However, the highly responsive, proactive behavior of the DoubleTree increased my satisfaction with the chain. As such, I made sure to sing their praises the next day via Twitter.
Having witnessed the perils of TWD (Tweeting While Driving) that befell Ted, I also made sure to put my car in “Park” first.