I’m currently between the pages of Shel Israel’s (@shelisrael) “Twitterville” and, thus far, it’s turning out to be quite in informing and interesting read.
The book recounts the short history of Twitter and companies who had succeeded and those who had failed in reaping the benefits of Twitter. In the book, U-haul was a screaming example of DO-NOT-UNDER-ANY-CIRCUMSTANCE-HAVE-THIS-HAPPEN-TO-YOU.
Because of this, and also due to recent struggles with moving truck rental companies, I decided to turn to Twitter.
BACKGROUND INFO: My dad and step mom recently moved from the Chatanooga-area to the Nashville-area and, in doing so, required moving trucks to haul their stuff from point A to point B. Our first rental truck encounter (Company U) went not so good. So, for our second, we went with Company P. All was good until my dad checked his credit card statement a month later. They had charged almost $60 extra in fuel charges, even though he most definitely had refueled the truck immediately prior to returning it. Even after providing the fuel receipt, Company P informed him that they were unwilling to refund him.
I found this to go against any reasoning I have acquired in my short life on good business strategies. Mainly, it went against the notion that the customer is always right, especially when they can prove it. In an effort to help my dad, I turned to Twitter and what I got in return was just as interesting to me as the $60 is to my dad.
“Why are decent moving truck rental companies so hard to find? Both Company P and Company U are off list thanks to my dad’s recent experiences.” — @LaurenGillaspey, Jan. 7, 2010
After posting the tweet (note: on a Friday afternoon), I went on with my daily business not really thinking much of it. A little over an hour later, I received a response to my tweet from the Director of Corporate Communications at Company P apologizing for bad experience and offering to help.
At this point, the conversation turned to e-mail and I explained to him in-depth what had happened. He thanked me for the e-mail and via twitter and his e-mail response said that, come Monday, he would look into it. However, he later e-mailed me informing me that he has already contacted some people and hopes to have the issue resolved early this upcoming week.
Overall, I am very impressed by Company P’s response time and willingness to help. It’s definitely helping improve my and my family’s attitude towards them.
On the other hand, Company U (which has had problems with listening to what people are saying about them in the past) has yet to respond. I found this surprising as I assumed they would have been on top of their social media tracking after what I read about in Israel’s book.
Although, my dad still doesn’t have his money back. My perception of Company P is improving thanks to Twitter and their ability to stay on top of what’s being said about them. This whole experience has been increasingly informative in learning what to do and what not to do with Twitter when it comes to running a business.