Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Proactive Service, Twitter, and Brand

I said that yesterday's was my last post, but the folks at TripIt gave me a reason to write another one. There's a lot of debate going on with regards to how social media can be used in B2B, and here's one example of a great way.

TripIt is a service that organizes your travel - you forward your itinerary to an email address, it parses it, organizes it, gives you maps, directions, etc. It even tells you when people you know are in the area. I travel a lot and it's a great service.

But I don't like their calendar synch. It's not that it's broken, it just does things in a way that I don't like. I would never actually call into their support desk because it's not a big enough deal to bother. I did a tiny bit of looking around to see if I could make it work the way I wanted to, and I couldn't - I wasn't sure whether it was me or the service, and I will admit, I didn't really put that much effort into it. I just went about my day as a mildly grumbly TripIt user.

And then I Twittered about it, part happy, part grumbly.

Within a short period of time, I got a tweet back from Kristin at TripIt, asking me to connect with her offline.

I did, and it turns out that I wasn't missing anything in the calendar synch, but they know about the issue I was complaining about and are working on it.

So now I'm a happier TripIt user. Interestingly, the problem I had did not change. I still don't like their calendar synch, but the proactive nature of their service made me significantly more happy.

A few points from this experience for any companies who are not on Twitter yet:

  1. Get out there and listen. You'll be amazed what you hear that you wouldn't hear from any other channel (in this case they knew it already, but in many cases, you may not).
  2. Don't fool yourself into thinking that if you have a great support desk, you don't have to listen on Twitter, there are a LOT of issues with any product, service, or company, that are annoying enough to stop someone referring you, but not significant enough (or the type of issue) that one would pick up the phone to call a support desk about.
  3. Proactive service, even if the problem isn't resolved, is very helpful for customer satisfaction. In this case, I at least now know (a) my problem is not currently solvable, and (b) the folks at TripIt know about it and are working on a solution. That makes me feel a lot better.

If you're not actively listening on Twitter, on blogs, on all forms of social media, you should be.

Here's my prediction:

In a few years, we'll all be laughing at service organizations that "wait for
unsatisfied users to actually pick up the phone to reach out to THEM."
Merry Christmas to all, have a great holiday season.
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar


Steven Woods said...

Just found a much more comprehensive post from Katie Paries at Headlight on this topic if you're interested in the topic: