This is an example of how treating customers right (or at least correcting errors) not only avoids a United Breaks Guitars fiasco: it can actually lead to positive social media buzz.
As I reported in October, Meredith Gould is a great humanitarian, having bailed me out by recovering the Flip video camera I left on the podium at a speaking engagement in Philadelphia. She sent it to me via UPS, and said she would let me know the cost when it showed up on her credit card statement.
I was more than a little surprised, however, when she sent me a direct message tweet in early December, with the bad news:
Although I was shocked at the bill, I told her I would of course reimburse her, but asked if she could send me a scan of the statement. As I tweeted:
I just want to use it as a graphic for a fun post: “What did Brown do to you?“
I figured that if it was going to cost me nearly $80, I should at least get a blog post out of it…especially since I had forgotten my iPod in Florida in mid-November and the FedEx bill for that shipping was $17.97. But then Meredith said:
In subsequent consecutive tweets, I told her:
- “If you wouldn’t mind calling UPS about it (and telling them the FedEx charge in a similar situation was $18) it wld be cool”
- “And depending how it works out, we’d either get a smaller bill or a better story to tell on my blog ;-)”
- “Might as well have some fun with it…like I do when I run out of gas.”
- “Between leaving a Flip and an iPod behind, and running out of gas, maybe I should stop and think a bit.”
(By the way, here’s the post I did about my out of gas experience.)
Two days later, I got this happy email:
- If you think a bill is outrageous, don’t just pay it. Contest it. It may be a mistake.
- If your business made a mistake, fix it, and you’ll not only avoid the bad word-of-mouth, but will instead get kudos. Fixing a mistake can be better for you marketing-wise than not having made the mistake in the first place. If the UPS bill had been correct originally, I wouldn’t have been the subject of my conversations, much less a blog post.
- Don’t make mistakes on purpose so you can benefit from fixing them. If you’re systematically overcharging and hoping people won’t notice, it will catch up with you.
- Hire more customer service people like Tiffany, and fewer like Ms. Irlweg.
- Don’t mess with @MeredithGould!