One tweet. 140 characters can mean the difference to your brand. Any brand. Even the biggest.
Twitter is a place where we (meaning me) talk about mostly meaningless stuff. What we’re eating, thinking, watching, doing. That’s what I like about it. It’s virtual small talk. However, we also use it to vent. Venting is our way of getting things out, and Twitter allows us as consumers to vent about mistreatment and to have others give us virtual hugs, and if we’re lucky, we publicly shame the company into playing nice.
It’s amazing what one reply can do. Take what happened recently to me:
I practically live in airports and hotels. I really love NYC, to the point where tourists get on my nerves (I live in Toronto). What I don’t like about the Big Apple is the airports. All three are the Bermuda Triangle of UnAwesome. I’ve learned to come early and wait. So I head to JFK nice and early and hit the Delta security line. 30 people or so, no big deal. After waiting almost an hour, I’m getting a little edgy watching person after person running late getting let into the front of the line, but I’m ok. I’m assuming all of them are paramedics traveling with kidney’s or something, so I wait. I get to the front of the line, disrobe, and put all my stuff into the bin. As I’m pushing it into the X-ray machine, a gaggle of flight attendants swoop in and head right for the front of the line. No “excuse me” no “pardon me, we are late for a flight” they literally pushed in front of me with bins in mid air and landed them in front of mine. It would have been an impressive Cirque du Soleil act. I’m not exaggerating. Bins in mid air as they’re being filled and then pushed over mine into the machine. There was about a 6-inch gap between my bin and the machine.
After the 6th (seriously) person did this in a row, I said “Come on”. I didn’t yell, although I was frustrated. As I was saying “at least an excuse me would be nice” one of the fine Delta employees said “I said excuse me!” in a harsh tone. when I replied I heard no one say anything of the sort she said “WELL THEN, OPEN YOUR EARS!”
Oh no you didn’t. I was speechless for a second (a rare occurrence indeed) and said “Pardon?” and she then just started saying “Excuse me!” over and over.
People have bad days, I know. Especially flight attendants. People are allowed to, but you’re in your Delta uniform and a bad day does not excuse anybody from common courtesy. I just got told off by the company that I paid to fly with. I get that they need to get through or their plane won’t leave on time, but if I don’t get through, my plane will regardless!
So what did I do? I tweeted it:
I didn’t want a resolution. I was pissed off. I didn’t add any of Delta’s Twitter handles. I didn’t expect to overhaul the customer service of an industry because of it or anything, but I wanted a few hugs from my Twitter crew, even to calm me down a bit.
16 minutes later this tweet came in:
Speechless, again (new record for me!)
I didn’t tweet to them “DO YOU KNOW WHO I THINK I AM! I AM TWITTAH!!” (say that in a Gerard Butler 300 voice)
They saw a misspelling of their brand name come up on their tweets and acted. They apologized. That’s it.
There was no way I could reply to that other than in agreement.
I could only tweet this:
In 20 minutes I went from irate to smiling. Then when I got on the flight, the person serving drinks was one of the nicest people I’ve dealt with, and no they didn’t know it was me. She was just wonderful with everyone.
When it hits the fan, it’s not time to hide behind the fan, it’s time to be awesome.
I’ve heard a lot of brands say they don’t want to use social media because they’re afraid of negative interactions. That doesn’t make any sense. The negative brand sentiment doesn’t vanish because you’re not there to yell at. It just gets unheard and therefore the anger brews.
I had to book a flight the next week and Delta was one of the choices. Without that tweet, I would have avoided them like the plague and instead, I flew with them.
Lashonda (^LH) from DeltaAssist didn’t offer me a $5 voucher next time I fly or some crappy headphones, she gave me what most customers are dying for: validation and a virtual hug.
++++For more stories of UnAwesome turning into Awesome, my new book is coming out! The Business Book Of Awesome is actually two books in one. One side talks about how businesses are being awesome, and flip it over and it’s a second book about the Business of UnAwesome!Tweet