Social media montoring is something that all companies should be doing. If people are talking about your company, positive or negative, you can either put your head in the sand or engage with it.

At my role at AccuQuote , I receive approximately a dozen cold calls per day. Usually I’m nice, but by the end of the day my patience is thin.

Today, I received a cold call from Michele at Ion Interactive about attending their sponsored landing page optimization seminar in downtown Chicago next week. I knew about it from their previous emails, and already knew we weren’t going to attend. When I declined the invite for myself (I’ll be out of town) and my team (who is up to their ears using Omniture’s Test and Target), she chuckled in a way that I received negatively before she hung up. Maybe I would have reacted differently earlier in the day… who knows.

I Tweeted about it, and got a response back from Michele within a few minutes! She appologized and asked what she could do for me.

It turns out that I had listened to a great Dishy Mix interview with their EVP, Anny Talerico, not too long ago. At Ion Interactive, they published a book called “Honest Seduction”, which has been highly recommended.

I asked for a copy of the book, and Michele was happy to send me a copy.

This is a perfect example of how monitoring the chatter about your company can turn a negative impression into a brand evangelist.

Ion Interactive and especially Michele,

Thank you!

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Restaurants have been impressing me lately

by scheyney on April 9, 2012

There have been a couple of restaurants that have impressed me lately with their level of service.

First, I had made a reservation online last Thursday for my wife and I to have dinner at Fleming’s Steak House. Everything was great at dinner from the service by our server to the food. What really impressed me was the follow up email I received the next morning. While it was a template email from their CRM system, the thought process to put together a professional and somewhat personalized email was very impressive. They have definitely won over someone that will now add Flemings to the list of possible business dinner spots.

The second restaurant that impressed me was Capital Grille. I made the reservation last week for this evening. This afternoon, I received a phone call (yes, from a live person), confirming my reservation and asking me if there was anything special that I needed.

In an era where details are often overlooked by companies, these finer points were definitely not wasted on me!

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A couple of weeks ago my family and I went on a short trip to Disney World in FL. After staying 3 nights at one of the hotels on property, we moved over to the Dolphin Hotel, which is located between Epcot and MGM on Disney property. Although it’s on Disney property, it’s owned and operated by Starwood.

As a Gold Starwood member, I always get a room upgrade when staying at a Starwood Property (Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis, etc…), and this usually translates to a regular room with a better view or a balcony when I stay at the Dolphin. It was really hot when we were there, the kids were wiped out, and we were just looking forward to getting into an air conditioned room and going to bed.

Due to availability, we were upgraded to a suite with adjoining room. This meant that we could put the kids to bed in the connected room and my wife and I could relax, watch tv, eat a late night snack, and have a drink without worrying about waking up the kids. It was a weclomed surprise that really made a big difference for the 2 nights we were there. I don’t expect this kind of upgrade every time, but in this case it really made a positive difference in our trip and increase my perception of the service levels at Starwood properties.

They person checking me in saw that I was a Gold member, saw that I had cranky little kids who were over tired and over cranky, and made a positive difference within the parameters of his job latitude. He didn’t have to put us in that room, but he did… and I say “thank you!”

It’s this type of customer service, making me feel like I matter as a customer, that will keep me coming back to the brand.

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Service Magic has generally been a good source of referrals for us. We’ve used them a couple of times in the past for other services, with generally excellent service from the contractors they have referred.

We moved last week (finally) and the first thing we did was have the carpets cleaned and have a cleaning service to scrub the place down before furniture and boxes were unloaded and unpacked. We used Service Magic to get referrals for a carpet cleaner, and after getting estimates and interviewing several companies we chose Kwik Klean (www.kwikklean.com). We chose that company because we were dealing directly with the owner and figured that he would give us good service since it was his own company. We were very, very wrong.

Immediately upon walking through our home, he wanted to charge us more than the agreed upon price for the small baseement space even though it was a room as part of the quote. After settling on the agreed upon price, Bob began to clean the carpet. My wife was surprised that none of the stains came out, and was disappointed that the carpet looked no better than before the cleaning. When I came home later in the day, it was clear to me that the carpet still appeared dirty.

The carpet in the house isn’t new, so we weren’t expectedit to look like new when cleaned, but we were expecting the dirt to cleaned out. It’s been about 10 days, and we used Resolve on a couple of the stains, and the stains immediately came out. My wife called Bob to let him know, and Bob went on the defensive a little but finally agreed to check his schedule to see when he could come back out. At this point, nothing in the conversations were adversarial, but were simply discussions… then came the email.

I don’t care what kind of service business you have, laying into your customer via and email tirade is bad service at its worst.

Updated 9/18 – This issue has been resolved with Bob from Kwik Klean. Follow the comment string and you’ll see it was a complete misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion. Although well within my right to keep the email up, I’ve decided to take it down because everything is resolved.

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Here is a great story shared in a humorous way.

http://www.davecarrollmusic.com/story/united-breaks-guitars

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