How Twitter Created a Brand Evanglist in 180 Seconds

Train travel on a wet Friday evening is at best inconvenient at worst it can be a nightmare start to a weekend. Having a  personalised assistant to help you navigate your journey can be the start of a valuable consumer relationship.

The barely audible station announcements heaped confusion onto frustration. The station staff admitted to knowing less about the exact cause of train chaos than myself. The last thing I expected was an immediate and informed personal response from the train company via its customer Twitter service. In a moment of desperation, I clicked on East Coast Train’s twitter link and requested urgent feedback on the best train options for returning home to London that evening from Durham. I had precisely three minutes before the next and possibly last train going south was due to leave. What happened next is a powerful example of customer brand loyalty building at its most spectacularly efficient facilitated by Twitter.

Two minutes and forty seconds later 20 seconds before the train’s departure time the information I was looking for appeared in my Twitter message box. The train just about to leave, was  my best hope of reaching London and with minimal delay to my original travel plans. Fifteen seconds later I was onboard and relaying my gratitude to the sender.

Twitter had facilitated both my journey home and created a brand perception of customer service at East Coast that would have taken years for them to build through traditional marketing channels. And just like a reformed smoker this latest East Coast Trains convert was telling everyone he meets about East Coast’s responsive and personalised customer service. A lesson for digital marketing cynics? You betcha!”