Tag Archives: Twitter

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.


When Foursquare and Twitter are at their best

Image representing Foursquare Solutions as dep...

Image via CrunchBase

On my way back from a business trip to Texas earlier this month, I had a layover in Charlotte. When I checked in on Foursquare, I saw that my Twitter friend Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder) was in the airport, too. I tweeted him a direct message and it turns out he was at the restaurant next door. We ended up connecting in person and having a great conversation about his work, brands, blogging and the like. What was really fun is that we discovered we went to the same college and studied under many of the same professors, though I had graduated before Olivier had enrolled.

Olivier and I had never met in person before.

That’s what I love about social networks — when they connect me in person with people I would never have met. Participating otherwise doesn’t hold much value for me, except for those Gowalla badges. (Just who is their graphic designer, anyway?)

AT&T Gets a Fake Twitter Feed

Well it appears the fake BP Twitter phenomenon has inspired a fake AT&T PR Twitter feed. Because I watch competitors closely, I spotted this one shortly after it started. Among my favorite fake tweets so far:

But don’t expect this parody account to take off like the BP one. Remember, we’re talking about a cell phone company, not a company whose negligence has devastated an eco-system and put tens of thousands of people out of work.

Plus, the Fake AT&T guy isn’t as funny as BP, or for that matter, the fake Steve Jobs.

Tweet a 20: How a N.C. Charity is Using Twitter to Raise Cash and Help Kids


Twitter is helping Thompson Child & Family Focus raise needed funds.

I’ve been to more than my share of boring fundraising events. I’ve hosted my share, too — I am former political fundraiser. If I’m going to be honest, events like these are really check collection devices. If you hold an event, people will give money.

That doesn’t mean we like it.

Crystal Dempsey, Katey Dietz and Kathy Rowan, some of the folks helping to organize an annual fundraising luncheon for Thompson Child & Family Focus, a Charlotte, N.C.-based charity, had a novel idea to make their event a little more fun and raise some extra money along the way. They decided to use Twitter to drive traffic to a fundraising page on the charity’s website. While the luncheon is going on — it’s this Tuesday, May 11 —  they will live tweet what’s happening.

Their Twitter hashtag is particularly catchy: #tweeta20.

In advance of the luncheon, they are asking folks on Twitter and various social media channels to give the charity $20. Everyone who does so will be given a chance to win tickets to the Broadway tour of Wicked, performing in Charlotte later this summer.

Disclosure: Crystal, Katey and Kathy asked me to loan them some Sprint Overdrives, our 3G-4G mobile hotspot for use during the event. I gladly obliged. Ten of the attendees on Tuesday will sit at a special Twitter table at the event and Live Tweet what’s going on via Sprint 4G.

I thought this was a particularly creative idea to use social media for a good cause. So far, the @ThompsonCFF team has raised over $1,000 that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

The luncheon is Tuesday. Be sure to follow the live tweets via #Tweeta20. And if you can spare the cash, help the Thompson folks out. The kids they’ll help say thank you.

Throw Out the Bathwater

The mural at the top of the dome is called the "Apotheosis of Washington".

My favorite place in Washington: the view looking up inside the Capitol Rotunda.

“Why pay for a golf trip, dinner or full-page ad when you can tweet for free?” asks Cecilia Kang in a front page story of this morning’s Washington Post.

“The influence peddlers of K Street have discovered the power of social networking on such Web sites as Twitter and Facebook,”  Kang writes. “Using their own names without mentioning that they work in public relations or as lobbyists, employees of companies with interests in Washington are chattering online to shape opinions in hard-to-detect ways.”

In the story, Kang points out how some PR people and lobbyists are less than transparent in their use of Twitter, Facebook and other social  to advocate for their clients. Though Sprint was mentioned in the story, she doesn’t cite us an example of companies who are working “undercover” or as an “influence peddler”.

That’s because our team fully discloses our affiliations online. For example, I use Sprint’s logo on my Twitter background and I identify myself as spokesman for Sprint on public policy issues. On my tech blog and my You Tube channel, I have an even lengthier bio. Disclosing that is not only in Sprint’s interest, but it’s in my personal and professional interest.

My fear is that more conservative, risk-averse companies will read Kang’s story and decide social media shouldn’t be used at all. I hope not —  I believe the more open and more spirited the debate is, the more likely it is we’ll end up with a reasoned public policy decision.

In my view, Kang appropriately questions the lack of similar disclosures by others. More companies and trade associations should require their employees to disclose their affiliations online. Sprint does.

Photo credit: Flickr: o palsson

JetBlue’s Twitter Strategy

Of all the companies I follow on Twitter, JetBlue seems to engage customers better than any one else. Today, I noticed that they are using Twitter to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. (I first encountered JetBlue’s Twitter deals in 2008.)

In a new video from Ragan Communications, JetBlue’s Morgan Johnston explains the airline’s Twitter strategy and how he handles it with @JetBlue and @JetBlueCheeps.