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Being on the losing end of poor customer service is never pretty. But companies who fall down and then recover gracefully turn customers into evangelists. And social media is the new stage on which this story plays out.
Case in point, last week I am traveling home from a business trip and my Delta flight is delayed three separate times for a total two-and-a-half hours. There I was stuck at the gate. No power to rejuice my gadgets. Not even a coffee stand. Not happy.
Tweeting my dissatisfaction to @Delta, they responded (within seconds) with a request for the flight number so they could check on what was wrong. Subsequently, they replied with an answer and an offer for frequent flyer miles to express their apologies for my inconvenience.
Now it didn’t get my plane home faster. And it’s not the miles that made the difference for me (seriously, you need like a million miles just to get a domestic ticket on any airline).
It was the exemplary customer service that made me sit up and take notice. Delta was right there, listening, when my complaint popped up. Rather than spew some pre-packaged junk about “we’re sorry for the delay, which is out of our control,” they took ownership, got answers and made me feel good that someone at the airline was on the case.
The miles were just icing on the cake; they could have emailed me a drink voucher and I would have been just as satisfied. (Come to think of it: hey Delta, there’s an idea. If you can email boarding passes; why not email customers vouchers for in-flight goodies?)
And here’s the payoff for Delta: not only did I tweet about the experience, but now I’m blogging about it, and you’re reading about it. You might even retweet the link to this blog yourself, post it on your facebook page or spread the news by good old word of mouth.
And it cost Delta nothing except a little time and energy in allowing their twitter feed (and the people who run it) to do the work it’s supposed to do.
Had the scenario had a different ending, I might be an enemy. Now I’m an evangelist.