Category Archives: Customer Care

When your customers thank you, are you listening?

Amtrak Acela Powercar 2016 speeds through Old ...

Amtrak's Acela is the easiest way to get to New York. Image via Wikipedia

My co-worker Rich Pesce has an interesting story about why it’s important to let your customers thank you.

If you know Rich, you know he loves his iPod and losing it on a recent trip to New York on Amtrak’s Acela was not a good way to start a business trip.

But it turns out the iPod wasn’t lost for long.

A thoughtful train conductor named George Link spotted the lonely iPod in a seat and matched it to Rich because of the ticket receipt Rich had left behind.

Though the ticket receipt didn’t have Rich’s telephone number, it did have his Amtrak frequent traveler number. With some detective work, Link was able to figure out Rich’s number and leave a message that the iPod had been found. It was waiting for Rich in Lost and Found at Penn Station the next day.

By any measure, Link and Amtrak deserved a thank you and Rich offered that via Twitter:

But sadly, did Amtrak tweet back? Nope. Amtrak missed the chance to connect with a happy customer who was thrilled with their service and the extra mile their employee had gone.

So often, customers use the Internet to complain about their customer experience. (I’ve certainly done that as a customer and I do my part in responding to Sprint’s unhappy customers who vent on the Net when Sprint lets them down.)

But what about when your customer just wants to say thank you? Shouldn’t your social media team be there to say, “You’re welcome”? Isn’t that a great way to cement customer loyalty?

I’m hoping that someone in Amtrak’s office will see this blog post and share it with George Link and his team on Acela. Even better, maybe someone from Amtrak will leave a comment below offering to do just that.

I know this much. On my next Acela ride to New York, I’m going to ask the conductor if he knows George Link.

Mr. Santelli & Mr. Gibbs Really Need That Coffee

Coffee cupThis month, close followers of politics witnessed a rather pointed exchange between CNBC reporter Rick Santelli and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan. For me, this exchange highlighted how rude our culture has become, particularly in politics. Some would say that this courseness is enabled, if not exacerbated with the advent of social media tools like Twitter. I don’t know, I’m not sure about that. Continue reading

My Social Media Vacation

when you need it bad, we've got it good.

Florida: when you need it bad, we've got it good.

I just got back from a long weekend in Miami and I realized this was my first social media vacation. Here’s how social media helped me make this Vitamin D boosting trip happen for with very little money: Continue reading

AirTran Should Ground Bigotry

airtranEvery once in a while someone working for a major corporation does something really stupid which captures national media attention. This week that company was AirTran Airways.

Continue reading What Do You Do Next? is one of the best known consumer gripe sites. is one of the best known consumer gripe sites.

If your company is big enough, you will be hit with a site eventually. There was a point in time where these sites were rather novel. That’s point has long since passed. Now such sites are often managed by cranky gadflies who are never pleased by any company with whom they do business. Though some can offer a helpful focus group to assess the health of your brand.

One thing is certain: in the era of web 2.0 where everyone has a microphone, a camera and a printing press, and can instantly alert their friends to how your company has wronged them, corporate communications professionals can’t afford to ignore these sites or their creators.

That’s why I urge you to read this story by Emily Steel in last week’s Wall Street Journal. Titled, “How to Handle ‘’, the article examines new research by FairWinds Partners on how some of America’s top brands handle their sites. Continue reading

Differences in Crisis Management: Netflix vs. Apple

Netflix's distribution system hasn't worked properly since Monday evening.

Earlier today, CNBC’s Jim Goldman broke the story that Netflix, the online movie rental company, was having problems with its shipping and distribution system. Netflix alerted its 8.5 million customers this morning with an email. Then it began to implement the company’s crisis communications plan.

According to Goldman, Netflix didn’t ship any DVDs on Tuesday, only a few on Wednesday and none today. Goldman gave Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey high marks: “[He] was candid, forthcoming and easily accessible; hallmarks of good damage control when a company is under the gun.” Continue reading

American Airlines: “Nickel and Diming our Soldiers”

Last night, American Airlines Chairman & CEO Gerard Arpey won an award, but not the good kind. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann dubbed Arpey and American Airlines the “Worst Person in the World” for August 12, for its policy of charging soldiers heading to Iraq the much criticized and resented “extra baggage fee.”

In bestowing American and its CEO the “worst person” award, Olbermann said American was, “nickel and diming our soldiers,” and “asking our troops to file expense reports while getting shot at in Iraq.” Continue reading