To say that I like food would be an understatement. I flippin’ love food. I love the patience a good pan of gravy requires, the creativity behind a homemade sauce and the trust required to put away the cookbook and replace measuring cups with “pinches” of this or “dashes” of that. The only bad thing about loving food like I do is that when folks try to take away my small culinary pleasures, they usually have no idea what they’re getting into. Southern hospitality is one burnt biscuit away from really pissing me off.
And now, thanks to social media, I (and millions like me) have a platform to share my dissatisfaction with the world (or at least the 400ish poor souls I’ve conned into following me on Twitter). However, despite all the blustery prose above, I’d never actually voiced any dissatisfaction on Twitter until about a month ago. I’m a pretty laid back dude and usually just mumble complaints quietly under my breath unless you’re talking about my mama, my girl, my church or Alabama football. A man’s gotta have principles.
But then, out of nowhere, @DunkinDonuts forgot to melt my cheese – three times in one week.
I know, I know – it sounds miniscule, but there’s nothing worse than taking a sip of their delicious coffee (I’m convinced they have it on tap in heaven), biting into a perfectly toasted multigrain bagel (it’s healthy, I swear) and then having a cold, hard piece of cheese spoil the experience. The first time I overlooked it – they were busy and whatever, it happens. The second time I asked the manager to please put it back in the oven for a few seconds. The third time I smiled, said thank you and logged onto Twitter the second I got to work. The result is below.
I won’t lie, it felt good to vent. I pressed enter, took a deep draw of coffee and gave myself an internal high five for being so darn proactive. Then, 27 seconds later, something amazing happened. @DunkinDonuts was following me. 27 seconds!! I can’t tie my freakin’ shoes that fast (the bunny going through the loop still kills me). 75 seconds after that I had a message from them apologizing for the experience and asking for a return follow so they could DM me. Stunned by their Jimmy John’s-like response time, I numbly acquiesced and within minutes I had a note asking for my phone number so they could call me to talk about what happened. I hit them up with my digits (I’ve always wanted to say that) and within 30 minutes of cheese touching tongue I’d communicated their store number, received a humbling message of gratitude for being a loyal customer and a package with a gift card was in the mail.
Needless to say, I’m convinced the Pony Express had nothing on the social media folks at Dunkin Donuts.
The super insightful, knock-your-socks-off marketing takeaway from this story? Well, it’s really quite simple. Lead times, taking two weeks to write a letter to the editor and expecting your customers to be cool with waiting for a barrage of corporate approvals before telling them what’s up are just about donezo.
I mean think about it, if Dunkin Donuts had given me another five minutes, I probably would have scanned my morning e-mail and then headed into the kitchen, still angry about my damn cheese, and promptly polluted the minds of at least 10 of my coworkers with anti-Dunkin propaganda. Maybe two of them take my rant to heart and switch to Starbucks for a week. Maybe they find a drink there they really love and a week turns into a month, which definitely transitions into a year if the cute barista is still there.
That’s $3 a coffee x three days a week x four weeks in a month….and before you know it, Dunkin’s return on that last big in-market ad spend was just wiped out by one measly piece of cheese.
Social media is here to stay gang. Do it well, do it promptly and because I genuinely appreciated their gesture and know the value of a good plug, Do it Dunkin.