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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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Less than 24 hours after creating a Freshbooks Account to bill for a recent consultation and presentation, I received a follow up call from Jon Spenceley. It was the best 15 minutes of my morning and I can’t say that I’ve had a better customer service experience.

The call was unexpected but completely sincere. Jon seemed genuinely interested in my work and helping me succeed with their software. I ended up asking several questions and he provided honest answers. He didn’t try to up sell me to a paid account and even shared that the paid account wouldn’t do much else for me other than allow me to have more clients in the database.

He could have easily lied about that, but he didn’t.

You see, after talking to Jon I WANTED to upgrade even though I don’t need to at this very moment.

But when I do, who do you think I’ll call? I was so impressed by Jon’s follow up email which came 10 minutes after our conversation, that I asked his permission to share it in This post. Notice how he makes it all about me and even reveals how he was listening to pretty much everything I said during the call. I mean come on, he even mentioned my book!

Here it is in its entirety:

Hi Angela!

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about your business. It was really great to learn more about your new freelance work, and congratulations again on publishing your book! I think it’s fantastic that you’re starting out to make some money on the things you enjoy doing, and I wish you the best of business, and a whole lot of new clients coming your way!

As I said on the phone, my job here at FreshBooks is something of a work-flow consultant (boring title, awesome fun job). If you have any questions on how FreshBooks works, what features may be interesting to you, or how FreshBooks can fit with your business, please feel free to let me know. I will also be happy to give you a discount on a paid package when you reach the point that you need to upgrade, because I think people who take the time to talk to me about their business are awesome.

If you need anything, you can reach me directly at 1-866-303-6061 (ask for Jon), or by emailing me at jon-at-freshbooks-dot-com.

Thank you very much for taking the time to tell me about your business. I really appreciate you checking out FreshBooks, and I hope you have a fantastic day! Thanks again for the Tweet!

– Jon Spenceley

Isn’t Jon fabulous?

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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