Two weeks ago, I bitterly tweeted foursquare after two separate Manhattan venues declined to honor the advertised check-in specials.
(Don’t know what foursquare is? Watch this short video and then keep reading.)
As I explained in my earlier post, foursquare’s co-founder, Dennis Crowley, replied immediately – on Superbowl Sunday of all days – and promptly looped in the company’s Director of Business Development Eric Friedman. While Eric was busy cheering on the Giants (pure speculation), I was publishing my blog post and awaiting a full explanation.
Here’s what happened next…
Monday, February 6:
Eric direct messaged me on Twitter requesting more information about the deals gone wrong, which I provided.
Tuesday, February 7:
No reply. It occurs to me that Dennis and Eric have probably pulled up my account, see that I recently unlocked the “Wino Badge” (undermining my credibility entirely) and have dismissed my claim.
Wednesday, February 8:
Following a good night’s sleep and upon further consideration, I conclude that Dennis and Eric have waayyy better things to do than “pull up my account” and it is those “better things” that have distracted them from following up with me. Possibly ever.
Thursday, February 9:
Hooray! A reply from Eric. He opens with “Sorry for the delayed response.” This is both courteous and generous considering he’s kind of a big deal and returning my email was a medium priority at best. He went on to tell me exactly what I wanted to hear:
First, this must have been incredibly frustrating for you and I am really sorry. We provide tools for merchants on a self serve basis (they are all free!) and try to guide them to train their staff, know about the deals, and offer “special” experiences to guests. We rely heavily on the owners and managers to make sure all of the staff is aware of our offers and we provide two ways to help them: 1. a printable PDF to train staff 2. a printable PDF to explain things to customers. Is it possible the Specials you saw were via American Express? (and he included link) In any case, I am really sorry for the inconvenience and it’s part of my job to prevent these from happening in the future. I am happy to chat further and thanks for getting back to me so quickly via twitter!
And just like that, foursquare turned my frown upside down and got me back on board pursuing a local coffee mayorship!
Here’s why the response worked for me:
1) He apologized (for both the delayed reply and the overall experience).
2) He validated and acknowledged my feelings of dissatisfaction.
3) He provided a full explanation. Essentially, he resolved the problem.
4) He kept the conversation “open” to ensure I felt the issue was resolved on my terms, not his.
In most instances, unhappy customers just want to be heard. Empowered customers make themselves heard!
The lesson here is simple: foursquare is awesome. Do it.