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Social Media Customer Support Done Right

NEW YORK - APRIL 23:  The United Parcel Servic...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Everyone who is tired of anecdotal “social media success stories” please raise your hand. OK, you can put it down now (but keep reading anyway). This article is not a lecture about why you should be using social media for customer support. This article is a tear-down of how to do it correctly.

I had a very short Twitter exchange with UPS this morning. It was quick, enlightening and illustrative. It begins with my frustration over waiting for my second Motorola Droid 2 replacement phone in a week. Naturally, both failures occurred on a Friday evening and so I had to wait until Monday for delivery. The interesting thing is that the ability for me to track shipments – a very good feature – actually becomes a frustration for me. I happen to live about ten minutes from the UPS warehouse at Manchester airport in NH. When I look up the tracking data for my phone, I can see that it was loaded on to a truck for delivery at about 6am this morning, but I also know that I am dead last on the route and won’t receive my phone until after 4pm.

Which lead to the following Twitter exchange:

Twitter exchange with UPS

Social Media Customer Support “Done Right:”

  1. The elapsed time between my Tweet to @UPS and their response was 4 minutes! Even for a big company, that is impressive.
  2. The response was from a person (@evanatups), and not a faceless, generic corporate account.
  3. They gave me information that was valuable, timely and will improve my customer experience while also reducing their costs.
  4. While it’s not on the screen shot above, he also joked around a bit, responding to my claim for credit with “The check is in the mail ;) (DISCLAIMER: A check is not actually in the mail)”

So what exactly did they accomplish?

For starters, they made a customer happy and demonstrated that they are listening. This improves my perception of their business and makes me much more likely to use their service. From an ROI perspective, they just spent about two minutes of employee time and substantially reduced their bottom line costs. How? I’m going to use this option many times in the future to go to their location and pick up my packages, cutting the cost of the truck and driver coming to my house.

Maybe I would have found out about this option some other way at some point in the future. But how? I never watch TV commercials anymore because of my DVR. I listen to satellite radio in my car. I haven’t read a (print) newspaper in about 4 years and have an ad-blocker installed on my browsers. Whatever means they would used to reach me, I can assure you it would cost them more than these couple of Tweets.

And let’s not forget the added value of my re-Tweets and this blog article. They were able to satisfy a customer, gain additional visibility through my promotional activities, and build important social capital with this blog article.

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  • http://twitter.com/DebCM Debbie Curtis-Magley

    Hi Jon:
     
    Thanks for spotlighting the quick response you received from @EvanAtUPS! Like a lot of companies, we’ve learned that Twitter and Facebook offer great opportunities to connect with our customers.  Along with @EvanAtUPS, our team also provides assistance via @UPSHelp.
     
    Debbie Curtis-Magley
    UPS Public Relations @UPS
    @UPS

  • Eric Hinton

    Listen to customers and treat people right – what more can you ask for?  Great article Jon!

    • http://domesticatingit.com JonDiPietro

      Thanks Eric!