When it comes to negative word of mouth, time is not on your side.
A quick response — even if it’s just to say you’re aware of the problem and are working on it — can go a long ways toward calming an upset customer.
That’s what UPS did when Andy Jankowski tweeted them about a near miss with a UPS truck in his neighborhood. Within an hour, he was on the phone with a concerned representative, talking about the issue and how UPS was going to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.
When I arrived safely home I sent the following tweet:
What happened next was nothing short of a Social Media best practice case study.
Please note the times listed.
4:28pm:@UPSHelp: Yikes! We’d like to notify your local area. Feel free to email the incident location + contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, I emailed them:
From: Andy Jankowski
Subject: Cycling incident
Date: July 23, 2012 4:50:14 PM EDT
Thanks for your kind response to my tweet (@andyjankowski). My near miss cycling incident happened today around 1:30 EST in the Echo Point neighborhood of Indianapolis. I swerved to miss one of your trucks that rolled through a stop sign. No harm done – I understand your drivers are under pressure to make quick deliveries. I have rolled a stop sign before myself. If you could however just mention to your drivers to keep an eye out for us road cyclists we would greatly appreciate it.
And they replied:
Subject: RE: Cycling incident
Date: July 23, 2012 5:10:39 PM EDT
To: Andy Jankowski
Thank you for your email. That definitely doesn’t sound like a good situation. I have informed our local management team of what took place today. You should be hearing from someone within one hour to discuss what happened and so that we can make sure that this doesn’t happen in the future. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention and allowing me to respond.
[the first and last name of a real person] – removed as I did not ask for permission to post
UPS Corporate Social Media Team
I received a call less than 20 minutes later.
The person who called was extremely professional and genuinely concerned. They asked a few questions regarding the location of the incident, confirmed that they knew exactly who the driver was and stated that they would be contacting their supervisor and taking the appropriate action to ensure that such an incident did not happen again.
I am now a UPS customer and brand advocate for life.
Needless to say, I was blown away. I cannot remember the last time I have experienced a situation where a large company:
- Paid careful attention to their (small) actions
- Responded almost immediately
- Showed genuine compassion for me as a person
- Took full responsibility for their actions
- Followed through and made changes to improve
That day concluded with the following tweets:
Now a week later, I am still blown away – which is why I have spent my Monday morning writing this post.