I don’t know if Twitter will ever be an effective tool for marketing, but there seem to be more and more companies that are figuring out how to leverage this channel to enhance their customer service. I suppose you could argue that good customer service is good marketing, but I’m not going to go down that road today.
I recently had a great experience with retailer Eddie Bauer on Twitter. I received and email about a big sale and decided to head over to my local store to check out the deals. The store, though, told me they had a sale the week before, but it was over and they didn’t know what this email was about. Frustrated at having blown my lunch for naught, I tweeted my disappointment just to see what would happen.
What happened was that I got a reply tweet asking for more details of my problem from Paola via @eddiebauer. After a quick exchange, she assured me that it would be sorted out and someone would call me (I provided my number through the Direct Mail function, of which I had previously been unaware).
The next morning I got a call from Jocelyn, the district manager for my area. After some phone tag she explained the sale was over in Canada, but she would try to hunt down the items I wanted. I sent her a list and she found half of them and had them shipped to my local store, honoured the sale price with an additional 30% off for my trouble. All this from a tweet.
I doubt that I would have taken the time to call anyone about this. I probably would have just gotten angry and not gone back to the store. But, because it was so easy to use Twitter, and because Eddie Bauer is monitoring that channel, my bad experience turned into a great one. How many opportunities like this arise for all companies? How many of those opportunities are lost because no one is monitoring the channel, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or blogs. These services are giving companies a chance to listen to conversations and rants that would otherwise only come out at the pub, or over dinner with friends. You’d have to be crazy not to take advantage, right?
I know I’ll be using this example as I continue to nudge my cautious employer toward social media dominance of our industry. For other case studies, I recommend Tod Maffin’s website, he’s got some great examples.
Now all EB has to do is fix the way they email Canadians sale information from the US. Are the email marketers listening as closely as the customer service folks?