The Best Social Media Customer Service Story (That's Actually Happened to Me)

When we think of customer service, we often think immediately of a complaint and managing the problem. Its like a sporting event with an offense and a defense, yet sometimes you don't know who is who. Airlines get the brunt of the customer service complaints but nothing ever really seems to happen other than apologies (if that). 

My (now) friend Lauren Breuning is the architect of the single best customer service story I've ever personally experienced via social media. I constantly reference "the Bachelor case study" in presentations and decided it was finally time to write it down in case others wanted to learn from it, like I did.

While doing a gala event together at the Four Seasons in 2011, I met Lauren and we collaborated on social media coverage to benefit both of our brands. Towards the end of a long evening, I off-handedly tweeted from my personal account, "Why don't hotels have DVRs? It seems so simple. And I really just want to watch the Bachelor finale when I'm done." (or some such). 

"The Bachelor Finale"

I thought nothing of it and finished the event. When back in my room, I heard an unexpected knock. When I opened the door, the bellman handed me a DVD and said, "Ma'am, I'm sorry we don't have DVRs yet, but we recorded The Bachelor for you on DVD and you'll find a player under your TV. Have a nice evening and let us know if there's anything else we can do to make your stay pleasant." 

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I didn't tag the hotel in the tweet. And, honestly, I didn't expect or want anything. But, I study social customer service best practices for a living, this story is always in the forefront for me. The Four Seasons does it right - and much of that comes from Lauren, their first dedicated social media hire. For my own brand, it makes me think... how can I reach that level... where we're not just tracking our name and responding to complaints, but really going beyond to identify customers (or potential customers) and make them *feel love* towards our brand, our mission.

Since then, other hotels have reached this threshold. There's the Hilton in Birmingham, Alabama that restructured their channel line up so that I could watch Morning Joe. And, the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta that noticed another tweet about missing a show (sensing a theme about what I complain about on the road?) and found a bar across the street for me to watch it. 

But, as I travel around speaking about social media and I look ahead at 2014 planning, I always carry this DVD in my bag. It reminds me to think bigger about what's next in social media. It's not about a tweet. It's about brand loyalty, relevance, customer service, message testing, data, marketing, and more. 

What's your best customer service story from social media? Leave it in the comments below or tweet me @tammy so we can all learn together.

You can also follow Lauren at @LaurBreu, or learn from the larger social customer service community on Twitter by following the hashtag, #custserv.