Social media is my new world. It is not shocking that when something happens, I turn to that part of my life. Whether it is to celebrate something big, question an item aloud with friends, or look for someone to help me through a tough time.
Twitter, Facebook, and my blog are a part of ME. They are extensions of the person I have become since I stepped into the wild and amazing adventure. I have always said there is good use and bad use of this powerful tool. The truth is that you have to know how to balance what is in front of you before you let your fingers fly on your keyboard, phone, or other electronic device.
On the Saturday that I had to cancel my 10th Anniversary trip to Walt Disney World, I had to call Southwest Airlines. As I mentioned before, the woman on the phone was super friendly and compassionate since she heard me crying. Once I was off the phone with her, I realized that the money coming back to me was not what I had spent. You see it was short $40 for my Early Bird Check ins. Rather than call back, I sent a simple Tweet out to Southwest Air (@SouthwestAir) and their Customer Relations Specialist account (@SouthwestWhit). I asked if there was a way to get my money back since it was not included after I had called and canceled my trip. That’s all I asked and left it at that. I did not want to get in the way of other people and I knew that after a week or so, the mess of the storm would ease up and I could call to find out about this other money.
Monday, as towns near us were cleaning up from the destruction that was Tropical Storm Irene, SouthwestWhit messaged me back on Twitter. She asked for my flight information via DM. After a small glitch in the DM process, she had everything in front of her and said she would take care of the $40 and then said a few magical words. She wanted to know if the rest of my money had already been refunded. I did a double take since I was given vouchers to use by a certain date. I asked if that was possible since I had been given vouchers. She told me yes. In the spirit of good will and the airport I was flying out of (Long Island), they would. I was shaking from shock. I could not believe that, in a simple Tweet, this part of Southwest Air was fixing everything for me. Better yet, Whitney contacted me the next day to confirm that it was refunded in the full amount and to watch my statement. Yes, this is a social medial success story.
A HUGE thank you to Whitney and Southwest Airlines for making this sad event a little brighter. I know we will be trying to rebook our trip and fly with you in the future.
Of course, this was not the only time social media has worked really well. In fact this was quite different because I did not actively seek them out. In the Spring, I sent out a simple Tweet. I mentioned to my husband that I did not think that our dehumidifier that we had purchased ever worked. My husband tried to call the local store, but it was endless cycle of never getting a person. Since it was a fairly new machine, I sent him another Tweet and this time mentioned that we should look into something else and not Sears.
I was not complaining, looking for attention, or expecting anything aside from TechyDad to start helping me to research options. Shortly after this, Sears sent a Tweet back to me. They clearly had a search looking for Tweets that mentioned their company. This is a company that is clearly invested in using their tools and helping consumers. The @MySears account with Rhonda R became a lifeline with this issue.
To make a long story short, Sears went out of their way calling us to find why the local store changed stories on us, were estimating long waits on fixing the machine, and eventually replacing the machine because of a major factory defect. More impressive yet, they recalled me. When I sent a Tweet thanking a Sears associate for helping us to fix our lawnmower (simply needed new sparkplugs), the Twitter team recalled us and said they were so glad it was quick and not like the dehumidifier. Class act all around. Thank you Rhonda for making us believe in Sears!
Is this the norm? I don’t think so, but I do think more companies are starting to get the importance of really interacting and communicating with consumers via social media – whether on their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, or blogs. Of course, there are still some that never reply to compliments, complaints, or anything. Their Twitter and Facebook accounts appear to be more of a method of advertising to the masses and not a tool to learn and grow with the people that matter.
What companies have you had dealings with that really GET social media? Would love to know how they helped you via Twitter, Facebook, blogging, or some other means. I could ask the flip side, but why dwell on the negative and give them any attention.