While what I'm about to share is pretty common place, i still find it fascinating largely because so many people and businesses haven't figured this out.
Friday I left for Florida. Delta lost my luggage. This is the first time I've ever had my luggage lost. According to stats, airlines are 99.5% effective in getting people their luggage to the intended destination on time. I wasn't too worried. After all, I had my golf clubs which was really most important given I had a tee time the next morning. I knew my luggage was in trouble because it never showed up in Minneapolis where I have to claim it after I clear customs. The flight to Orlando had wifi on board so while in the air, I tweeted Delta's twitter account and they tracked down my bag letting me know it wouldn't make it to Orlando until the next day. They also instructed me to go to the baggage claim immediately after I got off the plane. I filed a claim and was told the luggage would be delivered to my Dad's place the next day between 6-10 PM. As the 10 PM hour came close it was evident the luggage wasn't going to arrive. I called the number on the claim form but only received an answering machine. Back to twitter. I tweeted @DeltaAssist again and they had me complete a form on http://whereismysuitcase.com where I was able to track the suitcase much the same way you track a package. Shortly after I received a call stating the luggage would be delivered somewhere around 2AM.
The luggage indeed arrived and Delta offered me a rebate of my luggage fee as well as some Skymiles for the trouble. They were pleasant and quick to respond.
Today I checked in to my hotel here in Orlando and immediately was faced with the $14.95 internet charge for a relatively crappy connection. Fine. Then as I go to connect my Ipad, I'm asked to pay another $14.95. I called the front desk and was told that's just how it is. I'll give you two guesses what I did next.
Seriously Westin, $15 for internet and that's only a MB down and one device. @SPGInsider That's ridiculous.
— Dean Shareski (@shareski) January 22, 2012
I do this for a number of reasons.
- I'm mad
- I think others should know about bad service or products
- I like to see if companies are paying attention
Within a few minutes…
@shareski Hi Dean, Could we ask what hotel you are staying in?
— SPGInsider (@SPGInsider) January 22, 2012
And a few minutes after that the manager called my room and took care of the the charges.
I've tweeted about an even bigger resolution and many have had similar experiences I know. What I wonder is in the same way that some banks don't offer you the lowest interest rates unless you ask do companies only cater to twitter users because of its public nature? The hotel manager who called me specifically referred to my tweets as the reason he called. Is it simply a great way for companies and business to connect with customers or is it only about damage control? If I don't tweet, do I get the same kind of service? I don't think so. There's an immediacy with tweeting that and an ease at which they can respond to customers. I don't know if they watch how many followers you have and whether that plays a role but I do think it's a huge advantage to be able to connect with the people you have financial transactions with. (I wonder if any of the businesses, will track down this post since I tagged them?)
When I first began blogging and using rss, I wrote a post about how my expectations had changed. I expected to be able to connect and learn with people online and if I couldn't I was less inclined to read their stuff. I realize that's narrow and not very realistic but I'm feeling the same way about businesses and organizations and twitter accounts. I want to know that if I run into an issue, you'll be there to support me. I had that experience this week with Delta and Starwood. I recently had the same with Shaw Cable.
I also don't want to use these connections only to complain, They all provided good service to me and I'm happy to recommend them because of that. I don't know if there's a lesson here for schools but at least it's one more reason to help our students understand how to leverage these tools. There are some literacies or skills here beyond simply creating an account. They aren't all technical but experience and being comfortable in these spaces is a good thing to have. It's been quite beneficial to me this week for sure.