Posts Tagged San Francisco

Turning a customer service disaster into a win

It’s not often you see companies apologising when things go wrong. So when the CEO of a firm uses a promoted Tweets to link to a blog offering a mea culpa it’s worth taking a look at.

Airbnb is an online company that lets people rent extra space in their homes to overseas visitors, or lets people find unique places to stay anywhere in the world.  The San Francisco home of a “host” was allegedly trashed by someone staying there through the site, leading to the airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky to issue a belated apology and outline new security procedures.

Make what will from the apology, but I find this a very clever way to build trust and alert more people to your company. The first I’d ever heard of airbnb was the Tweet which said: “We screwed up and we’re sorry. Here’s how we’re making it right: Naturally I had a look, and now I’m pretty interested in their method of house swapping. Social media win!

There is the cynic in me who says this could be a clever way for a company to promote security procedures, even so does shows how being straight with the public when after a company has acted poorly can be a lot more useful than putting up shutters and trying to cover things up.

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If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to check in

Standing with my arm in the air gripping a hand hold on a swaying train carriage, my wandering eyes noticed that many of my fellow commuters clutching smart phones were doing a lot more than just texting or listening to music. That’s when it hit me: with such a captive audience why don’t transport operators promote ways for passengers with smart phones and tablets to interact with advertisers or the transport system itself?

It could be as simple as a poster with a Twitter or Facebook address to encourage people to provide receive more information about products, or enter competitions, that appeal to commuters – such as travel, recruitment, coffee/lunch deals. Alternatively the transport operator could promote its own Twitter feed or app* for passengers to receive the latest travel information or provide real-time feedback.

One transport network that has embraced social media is 2009 San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which uses Twitter and Facebook as a means to keep passengers informed and interested its services. But the jewel in the crown of BART’s digital campaign was its pioneering use of Foursquare.

In March 2009 BART became the first public transport organisation to partner with Foursquare to encourage patronage on the network by creating badges for users who checked in at stations before and after catching trains. The idea proved an instant success.  The Foursquare partnership also allowed BART to learn more about its users through the places and businesses they checked into before and after using the system and revealed what many people were using public transport for.

All this information could prove valuable for businesses that want to advertise at nearby stations to attract non-Foursquare users and, paradoxically, get some ads back on trains walls.

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