Sunday, April 19, 2009

Social Media: Talk AND Listen

Social Media Marketing is all the rage: companies try to dive in, and proclaim how cool and hip they are with fan pages on Facebook and Twittering specials. What they fail to realize is that social media is not e-mail 2.0; it requires participation and feedback, and, most of all, responsiveness. When they fair to recognize this, the damage they do to their brand is far worse than if they simply had not waded in, uninformed, to begin with.

Case in point: Quizno's. They established a Twitter account for their commercial mascot, the Quizno's Toaster Oven. They send me an e-mail, ostensibly from the Toaster, offering me a deal: a free Torpedo sub when I buy the combo. That's a $4 savings. Ok, good, entices me to come in to my local shop, and walk past the 6 (I kid you not) other lunch sandwich options between my office and it. I bring the coupon, get to the shop...and the shop refuses to honor it, instead offering me $1 off. Ok, with franchised businesses, I get that these things happen. I head back to the office, overpriced sandwich in hand, and pop over to the Quizno's Toaster Twitter account. I tweet:

"@QuiznosToaster 578 Market St., SF store: refused to honor the Toaster Combo coupon you emailed. Instead, only agreed to $1 off. Not Cool."
I sit back, knowing that Quizno's clearly has a Twitter person, monitoring for such things. I wait to see how they will respond: maybe a Direct Message, offering to contact the store, or better a public reply, saying that they have addressed the issue, and are sending me a thank you for telling them. Perhaps just a public apology. That was 5 days ago. Want to know what the ultimate response was?

Nothing. Nada. Silence.

The "Toaster" has twittered 4 or 5 times since then, but nothing about this. That lack of responsiveness, combined with the poor experience I had in the store, ensures I will never patronize them again. And think of the opportunity they had: they enticed a new customer in, and had a chance to show how they could make it right when things go wrong, turning that new customer into a best customer. Instead, they ensure that my one purchase is my last purchase, all because they have simply checked the "social media marketing" box, instead of understanding its power.

Sorry, Quizno's: FAIL. Your Toaster can go back to its innuendo and ignorance, and continue to lose customers. When it wakes up, let me might consider twittering about it.

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