Ever had a long haul flight and idly dreamed of the perfect meal waiting for you on arrival? Well, Peter Shankman did too, and when he tweeted his desire, there was a steak waiting for him. It’s an example of good customer service and a creative use of social media other businesses can learn from.
Peter Shankman is a man who likes steak. In particular, Peter Shankman is a man who likes Morton’s Steakhouses steaks. So, when he found himself on a flight to Newark, he decided to send a (hopeful) but joking text to the Morton account: “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. : )”
On his blog Shankman notes: “Let’s understand: I was joking. I had absolutely no expectations of anything from that Tweet. It’s like how we Tweet “Dear Winter, please stop, love Peter,” or something similar. I shut off my phone and we took off.” Little did he know that a very focused Morton’s employee was watching the Twitter feed. When Shankman arrived in Newark two and a half hour after his departure from Tampa, a Morton representative was waiting for Shankman at the airport with “24 oz Porterhouse steak, an order of Colossal Shrimp, a side of potatoes, two napkins and silverware.”
As Shankman points out in his blog, not only was the surprise an unexpected and impressive stunt; it was also a massive effort. The employee who saw the tweet had to get Morton corporate approval, arrange to have a Morton’s restaurant put the meal together, find a driver to make the 25 mile drive from the closest Morton’s restaurant to the airport, track down Shankman’s flight, and risk that the whole thing could be for naught; as anyone who’s flown will tell you, planes get delayed.
Of course, it is worth noting that Shankman isn’t an average customer; he has almost 100,000 Twitter followers and is the author of a book about customer service titled Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World. It is still an impressive and creative stunt that companies should use as an example.
In his blog Shankman points out all the ways the plan could not have worked and then follows it up with the following:
“What if it does work? What if it happens, and it works perfectly, and it shocks the living hell out of the person they do it to? Like it did tonight?
And what if that person’s first thought is to make it public? Like I did tonight?
We live in a world where everyone you meet is a broadcaster. Look around. Think of all your friends, all your colleagues. Do you know anyone anymore who doesn’t have a camera in their phone, or anyone who doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account?”
It’s a really important lesson for businesses; advertising is no longer just about reaching out. With social media it is about connecting. It is about getting customers to do some of the leg work by sharing on your behalf. What better way to do this than to create amazing experiences that people want to share with their friends and extended networks? The Morton’s employee deserves a raise for capitalizing on an opportunity, and more companies need to think of creative ways to reward customers with effort-filled stunts.