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By B.L. Ochman
Lots of brands are on Twitter and Facebook, but only a few actually listen to or interact with people. Ben & Jerry’s is not only paying attention, they’re working 24/7 trying to make people happy.
That’s the real-life, real-time embodiment of Social CRM – managing the social presence of a brand to develop positive engagement across all platforms.
A mouth full of stitches and visions of sugar plums
Earlier today, I became the recipient of a random act of kindness from @CherryGarcia, aka Jay, Ben & Jerry’s Tweeter-in-chief.
The story begins on on the afternoon of Dec. 5th – yes, Sunday, with a Tweet exchange:

This afternoon, a few Direct Messages later, this arrived:


In case you can’t read it, the hand-written letter says:

“We really do hope these help in some small way! Good luck with the surgery and have a speedy recovery,”
All the best,
@cherrygarcia (Jay)

What did that cost? Not much when you think about the kind of money brands spend with buckshot advertising and canned marketing messages.
What’s it worth? Well, I have a couple hundred thousand blog readers, and approximately 8,000 followers on Twitter, and I’m have a simple message for all of them:

Brands create evangelists through earned media by acting like human beings.

Update: And a problem that happened while I was writing this post adds MediaTemple to the list of expert Social CRM practitioners.
When my call to tech support got the kind of “who cares?” attitude so prevalent in customer service, I Tweeted my dissatisfaction to @MediaTemple. Minutes later, he Tweeted back an offer to help. I already was on an escalated call (hint: always ask to have your call escalated when someone doesn’t appear to want to help you) that resolved the problem.
Did I end up happy with MediaTemple? Not really! Instead of taking nearly an hour, the issue might have taken 10-15 minutes to fix if the first guy had listened to what I said. I’m recovering from surgery; I am trying to rest. Bad timing for aggravating tech suppport.
Long story short: Ben & Jerry’s customer service (and ice cream) rocks.
MediaTemple: it’s great to be on Twitter, but the customer service attitude has to be consistent throughout the company. I wouldn’t have been bitching to you on Twitter if the first person I spoke to had listened when I described the problem.
But thank you – it’s good to know you’re trying and I still think Media Temple is a great hosting company.