Twitter is an excellent platform to vent. It is public and if you have a large enough following, you can make a pretty big dent in the credibility of a company, person or an organization.
Though it is easy to vent publicly knowing several thousand people will read my grumblings, I try to refrain from defaming a brand. In reality, we are all human and we all make mistakes and I don’t need to point out someone else’s failures. However, on occasion, there is a good learning lesson from a brands ability to respond to and redeem a situation using social media. You will think that I am lying, exaggerating or pulling your leg, but this is completely accurate and I have over a dozen people to vouch for every part of this story because they were there.
Where Are My Pizzas?
On March 4, I ordered pizza from Pizza Hut early in the day so that the pizzas would be delivered in time for a party I was having later that evening to watch the Southern Conference basketball championship on ESPN. The party started and there were no pizzas. I called Pizza Hut–they did not answer their phone. This goes on for about 30 minutes until I finally tweet about it. It quickly was retweeted and replied to by some friends, fans and followers. About half an hour Pizza Hut headquarters responded to my tweet as pictured above…and I still had no pizzas.
Where’s the rest of my order?
Finally, the pizza arrived over an hour late. They did not bring the drinks I had ordered nor did they have a receipt for me to sign. Since I paid via credit card, I had to sign, tip and total a receipt to authorize the transaction. But they did not have the receipt. The delivery person called his manager to figure out what to do and started using vulgar, derogatory terms on the phone when referring to his co-workers. The kids pulls out a scrap piece of paper and a pen that didn’t work and told me to write the last digits of my credit card number, the amount billed, my tip and my total. I was tempted not to tip, but only tempted. The young delivery boy assured me that my drinks and the actual receipt (which needed to be turned in for reimbursement) would be delivered separately. (receipt pictured left, is not actual receipt)
I bring the very cold pizza into the room where everyone had gathered and it was devoured quickly. A few minutes later, a knock came on the door. A new delivery person brought me a copy of my receipt, well at least half of my receipt. The bottom half, with the total had been ripped off and “lost.” They conveniently just left enough for me to see one of the pizzas I ordered and their address and phone number. And what help is that if they don’t answer their phone?
You Messed Up The Drinks Too?
So now I have pizza that is cold and over an hour late to this party, I have no drinks and I have only half of a receipt which will not help me at all for reimbursement. A third delivery person came about an hour and forty-five minutes after the pizzas were initially supposed to be delivered. He came with my drinks. I ordered two different types of drinks–Pepsi and Sierra Mist. They brought me all Natural Sierra Mist. At this point, I was tired of leaving the game to get up and have to deal with the incompetent people at my local Pizza Hut so I just accepted the drinks and said have a nice night.
@PizzaHut Sends a Broken Website
You better believe that I filled out the form on Pizza Hut’s feedback link that they had sent me via Twitter. I didn’t want to complain but I wanted to inform them of the absolutely horrific job the local Pizza Hut had done in delivering quality service. The one thing that really irked me was how rude the delivery boy was to his manager when talking about his teammates. So, I filled out this form in short hand since there were not enough characters to tell of my terrible experience. I then selected the local store by typing in my zip code and hit submit. The site sent back an error saying my store was invalid. So I tried it again and again and again. Nothing. I tweeted back at Pizza Hut asking for a new link or for them to fix the form…they sent me a new link and the same thing kept occurring. And trust me, I tried everything and did not give up easily. I replied to Pizza Hut yet again, but this time they provided no response.
What Can We Learn from Pizza Hut’s Customer Service
If you are a brand on Twitter or Facebook and there is a customer in crisis, sending a link is fine, but it is very impersonal. Here are three alternatives:
- Send the customer a phone number: Make it personal and ask the customer to call and speak with a real live human being about their experience.
- Send and email address: If you don’t have enough staff to manage a phone, give the customer an email address they can send a note to. I’m not talking about a general “email@example.com” but instead “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Keep it personal. If you are having someone fill out a contact form, it is more than likely going to an email address anyway.
- Request their information: Dunkin’ Donuts read a tweet of mine regarding their services last summer and asked me to send them a Direct Message on Twitter with my phone number, best time to reach me and address. Within 30-minutes, I received a phone call. That was by far the most excellent customer service I have received.
The reason people complain publicly is because they want a personal response from the brand. Take the time in your own brand to work hard at making people feel like they are individuals and wanted.