As some of you may have noticed, I enjoy reading, especially the great business and technology books of yesterday and today. Consequently, I frequent Barnes & Noble (BN) and even Borders as much as my schedule permits. A while back, I was introduced to this great Godiva hot chocolate – did I mention that I love hot chocolate and simply do not drink coffee – that was offered at Barnes & Noble. Well, after getting hooked on this stuff, the company removed it from their café menu. As I moved down to Georgia, I began to inquire about the product more and more, and nobody at the local levels had first-hand knowledge about the back story regarding the removal of this delicious beverage, for they were left to acknowledge that it was gone and recommended that I purchase the Godiva cocoa powder to fulfill my cravings.
But, I am one of those loyal customers that still seeks alternative resolutions. I was wondering who was empowered to bring it back, either locally or, for that matter, nationally. The café mentioned that I should call the corporate numbers and inquire. I must admit that my first interaction with the customer service representatives over the phone were perplexing as they did not have the answers that I was looking for. The nice gentleman recommended that I speak with the local store, something that I already did. I even asked if there was a customer care representative that was on Twitter – maybe they could help. I recalled seeing BN Studio on Twitter, but I did not know if they were charged with resolving BN bookstore issues. Being the social media enthusiast that I am, I started to send public tweets to them, and soon on December 2, 2009) I received the breakthrough that I needed. They provided me with the corporate number. By contacting that number, I was transferred to the corporate café department managers. I enjoyed a great, transparent conversation with Dennis, one of BN’s great managers!
Once I got settled in and knew which part of Georgia I was moving to, I spoke both with the local bookstore café manager and, most importantly, back with the café representatives from the highest level. Yesterday, they told me that they were going to contact the district store manager and empower them to simply open up a canister of Godiva hot cocoa mix (the exact stuff that they used originally) and serve me the great beverage that I sought for months. Consequently, I had a chance to swing in to the same BN location this morning, and the request turned into reality – merely hours after talking to the right people! And it all began to come to fruition after a single tweet to a great company that was listening. Now, I might just have to renew my BN Membership card earlier than anticipated to enjoy more cocoa and greater savings – hence, a win-win for everyone involved!
So, I now have access to the great drink that I missed for more than six months, and I have social media and technology to thank. Without such, more calls, more patience, more luck, and more time would have been required. For all of those companies, large and small, that are out there pondering the power and risk of the social media arena, I recommend that you get involved in the conversation now – it is your choice whether you want to help a customer rediscover his or her lost chocolate today! By the way, if you have not tried the great Godiva hot chocolate, what are you waiting for?