Last week, my wife and I tried to book some flights on Southwest Airlines using credits we had for some cancelled flights from last year. Unfortunately, we had waited more than twelve months, so the credits had expired. When we called Southwest, they explained that they offered a six month grace period, and therefore, we could still use the credit toward a new booking. The customer service agent indicated that it would take thirty days to receive those vouchers though. We explained that we wanted to travel sooner than that, and we didn't understand why it would take a month to receive our own money. The agent told us that she did not know how to expedite the matter.
Frustrated by the phone call, I sent a tweet to Southwest explaining my problem. Someone responded to me in a matter of minutes. I provided some more detail, and within a half hour, I was assured that we would receive the vouchers within 2-3 days. It did not take nearly that long. In fact, we received the vouchers within several hours, and we were able to book our travel with ease. Problem solved, happy customers.
I relate the story because it is yet another example of how Southwest Airlines has empowered its employees to act quickly to remedy customer problems. It also shows, however, that social media can be a powerful tool for customers, if used appropriately. Great companies monitor social media closely, and they act immediately to address problematic situations before issues get beyond their control. The best part... satisfied customers take to social media to complement firms that go the extra mile to resolve problems. That's precisely what I did, and what I'm doing here on this post.