Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

The Power of Social Media

Flickr photo: shohei??

Last weekend my husband and I dropped into Guitar Center to do some window shopping. My husband has been looking for the ‘right’ guitar for close to a year now and usually he plinks around for 15 minutes and then we leave. This day, he picked up the perfect guitar which sounded like what he’s been looking for and he decided, in that moment, to buy this pretty expensive guitar.

We have purchased so much equipment from Guitar Center over the years it makes my head spin just thinking about the amount we’ve laid out. With two teenage boys who went through pretty much every instrument they could consider, it was a rotational band in our house. Because of that, we continually get letters and cards from Guitar Center inviting us in for 10% discount. At this time we didn’t have a coupon with us and the one at home was probably in a pile of magazines but I asked the salesman if we could get the 10%. After going back and forth with the sales guy and the floor manager, we basically had no other option but to put the guitar on layaway or come back with the coupon. I was surprised they let a such a potentially(for me) big ticket sale walk out the door but long story short, we left.

That evening, I posted a couple of comments to Twitter regarding my frustrating experience. Less than 24 hours later, I received a private tweet (a message sent on Twitter is called a tweet) from the Executive Vice President of Guitar Center telling me he’d like to help me with my guitar buying issue. With 30 people following my tweets, I was surprised he’d found mine but he told me that he does a global search for anyone blogging or tweeting about Guitar Center and his goal is to make those customers who are unhappy happy again. Sounded great to me.

The next day he had the Director of Communications call me to discuss the situation. He told me that basically the policy of the local store was not what had happened to me and that they would be happy to honor the discount. A couple hours later, the store manager called to let me know he had the guitar put aside, and to please come in and introduce myself to him when I came to buy the new guitar. Wow. Now the store is a good 30 minutes from my house and this second trip could have been avoided but I am definitely feelin’ da love for Guitar Center now.

If a customer complains in the forest, does anyone hear them? Apparently the answer is yes. In today’s New York Times, there is an article about this social media phenomenon of companies combing the internet looking for instances of disgruntled as well as happy customers. Citing primarily complaints about Comcast, not only are some companies listening to what’s being said about them, many are trying to act aggressively from the top down to solve these problems. Some bloggers are complaining they feel “big brother” is watching but I think those that are getting some resolution to their problems view it otherwise.

Of course, this brings up the issue of how abysmal a lot of companys’ customer service is and what is required to change that. I think most of us would nod our heads in sympathy to the chronic complaints of sales clerks who are rude, lack knowledge of their products, or may not even be available to begin with. My son told me of an experience at a fast food restaurant where he was the only one in the building and the counter clerk, looking past him standing at the counter, asked loudly to nobody in the restaurant, “who’se next?”

While many of the daily tweets I get lack any real content, this is a great example of the positive power of social media, connecting you directly to who can make a difference, provided they are listening.

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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