Healthcare Brand Growth Blog

 January 30, 2012

Jimmy John's -- Freaky Fast Social Media

Jimmy John's demonstrates the right way to use Facebook:

Meet Sarah.  She's a Hult Account Executive.


But, today Jimmy John's wasn't freaky fast.  In fact they didn't deliver her order at all. After over an hour of waiting for her lunch, Sarah finally called the local eatery to find out if, perhaps, the delivery guy, in his haste to deliver her sandwich, hadn't looked both ways before crossing the street and was consequently hit by a bus.  (Which would have been tragic.)  But, that was not the situation at all. In reality, after leaving putting her on hold for nearly 10 minutes, Jimmy John's informed Sarah that they didn't receive her order and she'd just have to place another one.  No apologies.  No free lunch.  Nothing.

Now, in a post social media world, Sarah would have had a few choices...

1.  Execute a drive by egging of the Jimmy John's storefront, call it even and forget about the whole mess. Although satisfying, this probably would constitute vandalism and could have legal consequences.

2.  Call JJ HQ, navigate the chain of command and demand appropriate reparations from a CEO. This is potentially time consuming and may or may not be successful.

3.  Write a letter/email.  Maybe a better option than #1 or #2.

4.  Stop patronizing Jimmy John's in protest. But, then what would she eat for lunch?

But today, Sarah took her complaints to Facebook. A JJ representative responded within 2 minutes.  Literally--look at the time.

Talk about Freaky Fast.  The rep immediately apologized and offered to take care of the problem.  It's a great example of how businesses should use social media to control negative commentary about their Brand, connect with consumers and earn a good customer service reputation.

On the flip side, had Jimmy John's chosen not to invest in their social media (i.e. not hire someone to respond to comments, tweets, etc... full time) you see how this would have changed things.  Angry consumers like Sarah would find themselves talking to a wall (no pun intended), which would give the distinct impression that the company doesn't care.  A delayed response is better than none, but still doesn't sends a "you aren't a priority" message.

In summary:

    1. Social media, if used correctly, is a very good way to control negative press/work-of-mouth.

    1. People will talk about your Brand online. If you're not there to moderate, the conversation will go on without you.

    1. You can't have a show-pony Facebook page.  Either make one and actually talk to your customers, or don't have one at all (not recommended.)  But, if you have one and never respond (especially to complaints) it shows you don't care.

And, just as a side note, about an hour after the whole Facebook exchange Sarah received a call from Jimmy John's HQ.  They apologized for the problem and said they would be following up with the offending store's manager.  Sarah received a call from the manager the next day, who apologized again and offered her a free lunch. How's that for customer care?

And, as another side note, take a look at Jimmy John's Facebook page.  They do a great job of supporting their Brand personality with their wall posts and responses--the casual writing style and language totally supports the Jimmy John's persona and we love it.