Ever had a company totally screw you over and wish you could do something about it? Ever felt insulted by said company’s lame attempts to make you happy but felt powerless to get anything more? Fear not, friends, I have a solution for you…Social Media!
Now, you may be thinking, I never thought that Facebook profile or Twitter user name could help me! Well, Facebook, not so much, but Twitter has the power to change your life! Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows you to broadcast your message to a worldwide audience. The key is to mention the company’s Twitter handle in all your tweets. If they’re responsible, they won’t want all this negative publicity being endlessly re-tweeted (RT’d) against them!
Complaining About Awful Service on Twitter
Think I’m crazy? What if I told you I actually succeeded here? Remember a couple of months ago I wrote about my awful flight home on United Airlines from the TBEX Conference in Vancouver? How my flight was delayed 4+ hours due to lack of pilot and we were sent to a different airport than planned? How they decieved us about non-existent ground transportation? And how I thought their offer of compensation (3,000 miles) was absurd?
Well, there’s more to that story! See, almost immediately after getting home I took to Twitter to voice my complaints, being sure to mention @United (the airline’s official Twitter feed) as much as I could. Much to my surprise, they quickly sent me a direct message asking for my mileage number. “Sweet!,” I thought. Who knew getting something would be so easy!
Not so fast… A week went by without any further word so I filed an official grievance with Customer Service, who replied and largely ignored my complaint entirely, instead opting to give me yet another 3,000 miles.
Still peeved about the situation, I decided to share my sad tale with my readers by writing about that faithful night. The post did pretty well, both with RT’s and comments as folks came out of the woodwork to share their own airline horror stories. And every time I tweeted it, I was sure to mention @United.
The Phone Call
About a week later, I get a phone call from a real live representative from United’s Executive Services department, informing me that their social media staff had advised them they should get in touch with me. I was literally stunned. Here I was, talking to a rep at United who deals with the big wigs in their mileage program all because of my tweeting?
The rep heard my story, apologized profusely, and then said, “I’m prepared to exchange the 6,000 miles you’ve already received for a $150.00 certificate.” I balked!
Let me tell you why I am not a fan of discount certificates. They have restrictions, so it’s not like they’re saying, “here, take $150 on us!”. What’s more, those certificates must be used within 1 year and must be booked at United.com!
Miles, on the other hand, offer me the flexibility to use them anywhere in the Star Alliance network, which is, ultimately, what I’m after. But under this scenario, I would lose those miles and gain the certificate. Nooooo thank you!
Unfortunately, the customer service rep just wouldn’t budge! I began to go over the facts again and again. United had reached out to me on Twitter nearly a month earlier and I was just now hearing from them. And then there’s the whole ground transportation thing which left me feeling lied to. It wasn’t working.
So, I played the ace card that I told myself I never wanted to play. I told her I was blogger and that I had written about my terrible experience. I told her about how it was one of my most popular posts ever and of all the commenters sharing their horror stories. That’s right about the time her attitude changed…
“Well, I’m not supposed to do this,” she told as she agreed to a healthy sum of miles in addition to those I had already received. In fact, she asked me not to disclose the amount that we settled on. I chuckled as I thought, “What, does United not want the good publicity?”
So here I am…months later with my extra miles in hand. Now do I feel justly compensated for the ordeal? Oh yeah! What’s more, I feel like I’ve survived a “David vs Goliath” tale. But in it, I learned a valuable lesson that is worth its weight in gold:
There is GREAT power in Social Media if you use it to your advantage!
Now I Want to Hear From You!
Have you had any experiences where Twitter has helped you in a difficult situation?