Brands should think about Twitter as the new customer service.

Social Media






I recently got stuck in Florida due to the 20 inches of snow that was dumped on New York City. It shut down airports and caused havoc by backing up flights all over the world. I tried everything. I went online to every airline that flies to New York. Everything was sold out or astronomically expensive. Especially when you consider I was traveling with two children and a dog. I tried planes to other cities and then taking a train. I looked at buses. The children even tried to convince me to drive all the way back–a 19 hour even in the best of weather. Can you imagine how crazy I would have been after 20+ hours in a car with two teenagers playing obnoxious music and a restless dog. So I was forced to hunker down and work remotely for an extra five days. (I know it sounds tough, but it was cold and I was working.)

Every day, I tried again to see if I could find a flight. I finally booked a Delta flight because I didn’t want to get totally shut out. But you can’t book a dog online. You have to call the 800-number which was impossible to get through on. In fact, the recorded voice on the phone told you they were essentially too busy with call volume and then announced they were cutting you off. What was I going to do?

So I sent a tweet to Delta Assist. Within minutes, they answered. “Please send us your confirmation number.” And they took care of it. Amazed with the quick response. I decided I didn’t have seats either (couldn’t do it online) so could DeltaAssist help with seats. I sent another tweet. “How old are your kids?” they asked. I sheepishly said they weren’t actually kids at 16 and 18. They replied, “They will always be your kids.” Wow, personality from a brand. And seats? Done.

A New York Times reporter saw my tweets with Delta and sent me a DM asking if they could talk to me immediately. So I gave them a call for an interview. I told them more and more Moms use Facebook and Twitter for customer service and how well this had worked versus traditional channels. Apparently Delta had taken 9 people and trained them specifically for issues like mine–taking care of customers on twitter. Delta gets the new social world we live in.

But the story isn’t over. I had to cancel my JetBlue flight so I could get my money back. I got up at 3am to call thinking I might be able to get through and I eventually did. I was put on hold but at least not cut off. I grabbed a book and hunkered down for the wait. One hour later, a rep came on. Said “No problem, let me put you on hold and I’ll get right back to you.” Another hour later, I gave up. Two hours on hold. Geez. He never came back. I opted to send an email to customer service instead. It took 3 days to get an answer. Maybe they felt bad, but a week later, I received an email offering me 10,000 True Blue points to make up for the situation.

I got more accomplished through Twitter than any traditional customer service channel. I think it’s time for brands to take a page out of Delta’s book. Twitter is the new customer service in my book.

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