Business Technology

Peculiar customer service moments that were powered by Twitter

8 min read

09 January 2015

Former deputy editor

The customer is always right, and today's businesses have no place to hide if they fail to meet expectations, with social media rants often forcing companies into action – this was recently demonstrated by one Virgin Trains passenger who became rather unfortunate while inside a toilet.

We’ve taken a look at some of the prominent ways that consumers have turned to Twitter to voice rather peculiar concerns, and the excellent responses they’ve received.

Virgin Trains

Ending the year like a social media god, Virgin Trains didn’t fail one of its loyal disciples and answered their digital prayer in an instant. 16-year-old Adam Greenwood was doing “a reasonably large poo” in the toilet while on a Euston to Glasgow route last month, though disaster struck and he realised the cubicle was without loo roll. Not wanting to shy away and panic, Greenwood took to Twitter to make @VirginTrains aware of the lack of supplies, which the account responded to within two minutes.

It resulted in a suited steward visiting carriage J, as promised, to make a fresh delivery of tissue just moments after. With the story going viral, another Twitter user asked Virgin if they could deliver pizza, which resulted in @Dominos_UK suggesting a toilet paper and pizza venture.

Morton’s The Steakhouse

Back in 2011 when Twitter wasn’t as widely adopted as it is now – it had 100m monthly active users versus today’s 284m – NYC steakhouse Morton’s stared straight down the barrel of a loaded social media challenge, which was thrown down in jest by entrepreneur and investor Peter Shankman. 

The businessman had a long day with a flight departure from Newark to Florida at 7am and an expected landing time back in the Big Apple at 8pm, so sent a tongue-in-cheek tweet-based order to the eatery before departing the Sunshine State that asked for an airport delivery upon arrival. Without warning, his wish came true. Shankman was greeted by a tuxedo-wearing member of staff from Morton’s who had arrived with steak, sides and silverware. Some people were blown away by the results, Shankman included, who said he believes he received the service as a result of being a loyal customer and the company’s top CRM system. Meanwhile, others said it was a marketing ploy given his following of more than 100,000.

Click over to page two to see three more examples of extreme customer service…

Waterstones

You know what it’s like, you’re out shopping and time gets the better of you, thus you start to run late, which results in you being locked in a store – well, maybe forget the last part. However, that is indeed what happened to David Wills, a tourist who affectionately became known as the #WaterstonesTexan on Twitter after becoming trapped in a Trafalgar Square branch of the bookseller. 

Rather than call for help, he took to the social network with his phone and tweeted @Waterstones in order to make them aware of his plight. Soon enough, he was trending as Brits began imagining what it would be like to become sealed into a bookshop at night. After around 90 minutes of entrapment, Wills was free and Waterstones took to Twitter to break the news. Not wanting to miss out on the action, the Piccadilly store tweeted to request whether its sister site had The Great Escape or Freedom in stock.

Airbnb

Airbnb isn’t one to miss out on a promotional opportunity – it gave away $1m through its latest marketing stunt – and piggybacked onto the Waterstones Texan incident, teaming the bookstore for a twilight sleepover in the Piccadilly branch for 20 people.

Snacks, airbeds, presentations and the freedom to wander, as well as wi-fi, were all available. Airbnb said that within a week of launching the competition, it had experienced almost 700 tweets with #WaterstonesSleepover, 2,500 related tweets and more than 4,000 Facebook likes and interactions.

Domino’s

We briefly mentioned Domino’s earlier and its repartee with Virgin Trains. While this request wasn’t actually solved with Twitter, it was a shareable success on Reddit and showcased a great demonstration of customer service. Back in October, one hungover gentleman named Dave ordered a pizza – but requested it was delivered directly to him in his bed.

The cheeky demand was met, as a delivery woman freely entered Dave’s unlocked home with a box of greasy goodness in hand. Some people have dubbed the scenario a fake promotion from the fast food firm or a joke between friends, but we’re hopeful this is real – just in case we need to make a similar plea.