Posted June 24, 2010 9:23 am by with 4 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Which company do you think of when you hear,” when it absolutely has to be there overnight?”

OK, that was an easy question, considering FedEx is mentioned in the post title.

But, imagine if thousands of customers were facing “when you have absolutely no idea where it is or when it will get here!”

That’s the situation I–and thousands of others that had pre-ordered the Apple iPhone–found myself in, when FedEx’s normally reliable package tracking tool collapsed under the strain. OK, maybe it didn’t actually collapse, but the data was so inaccurate that the system may as well have crashed.

At this point, I’m mad at FedEx.

Should I stay in, should I print off a signature release? Will the iPhone arrive today, tomorrow, ever?

I decided to turn to Twitter to see if there were any glimmers of hope. Were others receiving their iPhone, despite FedEx’s tracking reporting the package being hundreds of miles away? Then I came across @FedExLina. Aha! A FedEx employee on Twitter that might be able to help. Then I saw her tweets:

Well crap.

It’s probably just an automated account that looks for mentions of FedEx and sends out pre-formatted tweets. I decided to ask for help anyway. Low and behold, FedExLina was not only real but she was willing to help!

And so, I sent her an email. Guess what? She replied within 15 minutes with this:

Mr. Beal

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help you today. I did researched your tracking # 43*******1840. I apologize for the confusion on the status of your shipment. The package deliveries are as proceeding as normal, however tracking updates are temporarily being delayed. Yes, your packagte is out on the van for delivery today by 4:30. May I suggest if you planned not to be home today that you go to the Apple website and follow the instructions to print and complete the “Shipment Release Authorization” form and leave it on your door for the delivery driver. Please remember the faster way to contact me is via tweeter. I am just a tweet away. I hope this information was helpful.

Warmest regards,

FedEx Lina

Wow! How about that?

A large international company that actually gets how to use Twitter! Not just pre-formatted tweets. Not just pushing marketing messages down our throats. But, actual customer support–during one of their busiest days, I might add!

Not only did FedEx avoid having me fill the web–or at least my twitter stream–with complaints, but now I’m a big fan. Heck, I’m writing this post, right?

So, what can you learn from FedEx?

1. Be aware of any issues you are currently facing and brief your Twitter users accordingly.

2. Empower them to actually help your customers during a crisis. What’s the point of being on Twitter, if you can’t help your customers?

3. Listen for the conversation. OK, this is something FedEx didn’t do–it didn’t contact me first. But, you should listen for Twitter complaints and be proactive in assisting your customers.

Which company has given you great customer support via Twitter?

  • I recently tweeted about 3G connectivity issues I was having with my iPhone in Washington, DC. Within a few minutes, I received an unexpected @ reply from @ATTJason. He offered his assistance, followed me, and once I followed back, he continued to follow-up via direct messages. By the time I got most of his messages, the issue was a moot point, but I’ll admit that I am impressed with how AT&T was monitoring Twitter and reaching out to its customers.

  • LOVE this story.

    Contrasted against the experience that prompted my recent tweet here!


  • Emma Elise

    How can you get rich by eating?
    Eat fortune cookies.

  • So Interesting, Thx!