Many organisations across the public sector are trying to utilise social media for customer services in order to make access and engagement quicker and slicker. This real-life example of Twitter for customer service is the gold star standard we should all aim for.
By Darren Caveney
So, the story goes like this (and at the risk of sounding like a bad 70s comedian…)
“A funny thing happened to me on the way to an event in Edinburgh last week.”
I was using Edinburgh Trams to get from the old town to the new town. It was packed with commuters but I spotted a lone, empty seat so plonked my suitcase in the storage area and grabbed the prized perch.
As more and more passengers got on at the next stop I spotted an elderly lady who was forced to stand. So I did the decent thing and offered my seat up. She smiled and sat herself down.
Now as the journey went on, more people got onto the tram and I ended up nudging further and further away from my suitcase.
*Probably* distracted by my phone at this point, I jumped off at my stop to make my way to a training workshop we were running in the city.
I took in a nice gulp of city air and wondered whether I had time to grab myself a good strong flat white first to set me up for the day ahead.
Then, and you’ve probably experienced something similar at some point, I had that horrible, sinking realisation that the departing tram was tootling onwards to the City’s airport with my suitcase still on-board. “On bother”, I said to myself, or words to that effect.
I quickly Googled the contact number for Edinburgh Trams and gave the Lost Property office a call, only to find that they didn’t open until 9.30am (precisely when I was due to be meeting and greeting our workshop attendees) “Bother”, I said to myself again.
“Think, man, think...”
I know, I’ll Tweet @EdinburghTrams to see if there is any way they could help. The time of my first tweet was 8.40am
Here’s what played out on Twitter…
That all happend within the space of around 40 minutes. Phew. And double phew.
But then my relief turned to thoughts of, ‘yeah, but what if lost property closes by the time I get back to the airport tonight, and I fly home minus said suitcase?' Cue more Tweets to poor @EdinburghTrams…
I DMd them to thank them privately and ‘Super Dougie’ in particular, the chap looking after their Twitter account that morning (I hope he doesn’t mind being named and famed)
Now as it turns out our training workshop featured a session on good practice use of social media so not only did I tell our 25 attendees about my moment of daftness, and what happened next, I also gave them a running commentary throughout the morning which actually made for a brilliant live Twitter case study.
I was genuinely very relived when I was later reunited with my suitcase…
It turns out it was actually 'National Customer Service Week that week. But I got the distinct impression that this kind of service at Edinburgh Trams happened the other 51 weeks of the year too.
So Dougie and Edinburgh Trams I salute you. You were my favourite person in the world that day for digging me out of a mini hole. The speed with which you replied, sorted the problem out and helped me was really impressive especially on what was, I’m sure, a busy day at the office for you.
You’ve set the gold standard for quick, slick Twitter customer service for others to match.
Footnote – I’m returning to Edinburgh in December to run another workshop only this time I *promise*to look after my suitcase.
Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and a creative communications consultant
pic by me