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Social Media Rescues Retailer

No Facebook did not rescue my neighbor’s cat from a tree nor did Twitter pull a child from a burning home, but the two websites managed to turn a potentially bad customer experience for me into something positive.

Backstory: My wife and I spent a few days visiting stores in search of new everyday dishware. Yes, I lead an exciting life…

After having no luck we decided to do our shopping online. We were both a little concerned about making such a purchase online. My worry was the dishes would be broken during the delivery process, my wife’s that the colors would appear different in person than online.

But being intrepid, tech savvy people we spent several hours on Amazon and Bed, Bath and Beyond’s websites comparing different styles. We finally settled on a set from Bed, Bath and Beyond, screwed up our courage and pressed the icon to complete the order.

So far so good. Within a few days the boxes arrived and we excitedly opened them only to find each contained a broken dish or bowl, a cup that was scuffed up and that the colors were not uniform across the dishes.

Basically our worst fears were met.

I was quite discouraged and angry at what had transpired. We decided to return everything using the enclosed UPS slips.

As I was steaming, I considered calling the 1-800 customer service number provided, but I really did not want to speak to someone in another country and probably get no satisfaction.

However, it occurred to me that I could vent a bit of my frustration directly at the company and its potential customers via its Facebook and Twitter pages.

My wife snickered at my naiveté’ believing I would not receive any type of response.

Never the less I activated my normally dormant Twitter account and typed in this missive.

@BedBathBeyond could not be more disappointed. Ordered two sets of dishes, both contained broken items, colors wrong, poor quality control.”

I then posted something similar to the company’s Facebook page.

Within 38 minutes a BBB staffer had wrote back on both sites.

“We’re sorry to hear about this Doug. Please email us at [email protected] with your order information to further assist you.”

I immediately sent an email and was rewarded with another tweet saying it had been received and they would look into my situation.

I felt vindicated that my social media blitz had paid such immediate dividends. My wife was shocked.

I received a quick email reply stating that my options included having the damaged goods replaced, mailing it all back or dropping it off at a local store. I admit I was hoping for some kind of freebie, but I was also pretty happy with the store’s responsiveness.

I opted for the store return so I could get my money back immediately.

The story gets even better here.

I brought the boxes to the customer service counter, explained the problem and that I wanted to do a complete return. The associate checked the boxes and said no problem and that $154 would be credited to my card.

I said that is a mistake, the total was $179 or so and she replied that store policy states the delivery charge is not returned.

My blood pressure started to rise again and I thought of reaching for my smartphone to zap BBB with another tweet, but the associate said I could take it up with the manager.

I did so explaining that I thought it was wrong to be charged for delivery when I could not even keep what I bought. She agreed and credited the extra money.

There was no arguing, yelling or anything unprofessional in the entire encounter.

To say I was as pleased as punch is an understatement. I finished the transaction, found the manager and again thanked her for her help.

When I walked into the store I had no intention of making our dish purchase with BBB. I was not a happy camper at what had happened, but between the fast online response to my complaint and the great in-store service I had changed my mind.

Even more surprising was my wife’s statement that we should go back onto the website and pick out another set.

The lesson learned is to pay attention to your company’s social media pages and if you don’t have one go create one today. Yes, this will open your company up to lots of complaints, but if it is properly operated it will enable your customer service department to jumpstart damage control measures.