I am dedicating an entire blog post to rave about the use of Twitter as an excellent tool for customer relations. The company I’d like to rave about is Orbitz.
You see, I booked a vacation via Orbitz because of a great deal they were offering at a specific hotel. The deal was ‘kids eat free.’ I have two children and it included breakfast, lunch and dinner during the entire stay, which was a pretty attractive offer, so I booked it and sealed the deal.

The problems started when the hotel staff seemed to be unaware of this great offer and pretty much hassled me about the free meals. They gave me this song and dance about Orbitz being a ‘third party’ and how they had not been informed of any such deal.

I happened to print several copies so they did in fact honor the deal since it was there in black and white. But, that did not minimize the hassle and confusion on the faces of the restaurant staff and even the front desk manager since it took all of them to talk to me about this, rather loudly I must say, as if I was trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
As time went on, I got angry.
I decided to look for Orbitz on Twitter when I got home yesterday and saw that they were pretty active. So, I posted the following on Twitter, hoping to receive a response.

Hello @orbitz. Marriott Carolina Beach was totally unaware of your deal and it was not pleasant for me. Will be writing.

Now, in most cases one would expect a DM or @reply from the company if they are indeed serious about reaching thier customers via Twitter.

I received neither. What I did receive was a PHONE CALL.  A nice woman named Sarah left a message for me on my cell indicating that she saw my message on twitter and wanted to talk to me about what happened. She left her number and urged me to return her call.

I was quite impressed and called her back immediately. She listened to me recount the experience and even empathized. She did not go out of her way to blame the hotel even though I know now the fault lies with the hotel alone. She went on to tell me how the process works and then gave me a $50 voucher to use the next time I book travel through Orbitz.

That phone call was unexpected, and they have surpassed my idea of good customer service. I go by “communitygirl” on Twitter, so they clicked through to my profile to get my real name, looked me up in their system, then contacted me on my cell.

Not too shabby.

We hear so much about Comcast, JetBlue, Dell, BestBuy and others that are serious about transparency and customer service on Twitter. I would like to add Orbitz to the mix. They didn’t care about the world seeing a DM and recognizing them based on that. They only cared about me and made a direct connection. I was impressed and I find that to be huge.

So, here’s to Orbitz, and the customer service representative named Sarah.
Sarah, you had me at ‘hello.’
Keep up the good work!

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