Customer Experience via Big Brother Twitter

Recently, I had a bad customer experience with Fresh Direct. (Shocked? So was I.) A charge of $64 appeared on my charge card with no explanation (and needless to say, no groceries). When I called to complain, the person on the phone could not effectively explain the charge, insisting it was for “free” delivery. I pointed out that $64 is not, in fact, free. We went back and forth for quite a while, and although the customer service rep eventually agreed to refund my money, I felt ripped off. (I believe I used the word “fraud” at some point.)

So I turned to the contemporary venter’s platform of choice: Twitter. It’s a great way to let off steam; 140 characters of outrage sent out into the world, with an @ tag pointing a finger at the deserving target.

My first tweet went like this:

@FreshDirect charged a $64 “auto-renewal fee” — but no delivery! What a scam!

A few moments later, I added,

@FreshDirect has lost this customer for life with this ridiculous scam of a “recurring charge” for nothing! #fraud

I wondered if @FreshDirect would respond. It took a few days, but soon enough, I got a boilerplate message along the lines of “Let us make it right! Please DM us so we can help.”I ignored it.  My vitriol had been spent, I was over it, I was over them. I was done with @FreshDirect.

And then I got a phone call. Fresh Direct customer service called me to apologize. The woman I spoke to had apparently listened to the recordings of my conversations with their phone support person, and agreed with me that the representative had not done a good job communicating with me. She listened to me, apologized sincerely, and offered to make it up to me with a gift credit to my account.

I realized as we spoke that it was Twitter that had led to the phone call. The likelihood of my call being the one that was “monitored for training purposes” was slim; she picked me out to listen to because my angry Tweets had gotten someone’s attention. What is particularly interesting about this is that I don’t have any personal information other than my name attached to my Twitter account. That means someone looked at my Twitter account to find out my real name, and then looked up my phone number in their customer database, and then called me.

Big brother? Or good customer service? On the one hand, I am slightly creeped out that they tracked me down that way. On the other, I recognize that our digital lives become more integrated every day. I don’t try to hide my identity across my various channels; in fact, I make it a point to promote myself this way. So why should I be surprised that someone was able to connect the dots?

The truth is, in the end, it was a great customer experience. I felt validated, appeased, and appreciated. Two weeks after I vowed they’d lost a customer for life, I was placing an order, using the credit that soothed my irritation. And not only had they regained a customer, they regained my good will, and the word-of-mouth that comes with it.

@Freshdirect, thank you for making things right! Was really angry; customer svc reached out to me (!) and apologized for my bad experience.

We tell our stories now in the digital world, good and bad, but the smart company knows how to use the digital to make it personal.

Now I’m off to go  order some of that great half-baked bread…


2 responses to “Customer Experience via Big Brother Twitter”

  1. I would love to know how they actually pulled off tying the Tweet to the call. It’s really an impressive bit of technological voodoo!

  2. alaskin Avatar

    As best as I can figure it out, they checked my Twitter profile and saw my name. Obviously I’m a customer, so they looked me up in their customer database, where I would have given them my number…

    Still creepy!

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