I have a new hero, and her name is Erin.

Here's some background first. Our company, Wild Creations, always has business deals under consideration. Because we have partners all over the country and the world, I often rely on SignNow.com to circulate and obtain signatures for important documents. It has been a bastion of reliability over the past few weeks as we moved toward a particular closing this past Friday. As I was circulating a few final documents toward the end of the day, however, I started receiving an error message from SignNow.

"Error. Can't Save Now. Try again later."

The problem was, there was no "later." These documents had to be executed by close of business that day. I tried time and time again, much like one looks in the same place over and over again for a lost set of keys, hoping that "this time would be different."  Alas, to no avail. So I did what any normal, levelheaded business manager does in a situation like this.

I panicked and took to Twitter.

I blasted a tweet to @SignNow expressing my exasperation and frustration. While I attempted to circulate papers for signing the "the old fashioned way" (you remember: fax, print, sign), I started planning the scathing email I was going to send next. Before I could get around to it, however, an amazing thing happened.

I immediately received a tweet and an email response.

A SignNow representative, "Erin," had seen my Twitter post and responded right away. This wasn't, however, the ordinary "form email" I would typically expect, but a personal message that brimmed with empathy. A few instructions were bounced back and forth, and unlike most technology issues I have, it turned out this wasn't user error. In a short time, Erin had made everything right, and all the documents were circulated and completed on time.

Erin was my hero for the day.

This got me thinking about how Erin had managed to elevate herself to hero status instead of becoming the villain of the situation, as my disgruntled mood would ordinarily have demanded.  Her formula was actually very simple:

  • She responded immediately to the problem. By immediate, I mean in just a few minutes.
  • She was personal in her response, demonstrating empathy and a real desire to find a resolution.
  • She found a resolution fast and efficiently, like a 911 operator allocating and dispatching resources.

It sounds simple, right? That's because it is. What made this experience utterly unique, however, was that it required almost no effort on my part to get to a resolution. No long, detailed emails. No complicated online form letters. No maneuvering through frustrating, automated phone systems.

Just a tweet.

Indeed, in an age of social media and instant gratification, customer service has also become incredibly time sensitive. These days, however, it's not challenging for a small business to provide this level of service. It doesn't require a phone center with customer service representatives that are available 24-7. All it takes is a Twitter account and a cell phone.

Like it or hate it, it is what it is, and the reality is that if you don't provide this level of service to your customers, someone else will.

So the next time you are thinking about turning on the "Do Not Disturb" setting before you doze off to sleep, remember that the next tweet you might receive may be a plea for help from a valued customer. Technology provides you the cap and tights, so use them and be a hero for your customers.

Have you had a similar experience? Please share it below. And if you enjoyed the story, please share with the links on the side!