A Social Media Success Story: UPS

30 Jul A Social Media Success Story: UPS

UPS4-150x150Update: Thanks to your support, this story has now been picked up by The Huffington Post. You can read the full updated version on their site.

I love road cycling. I love being outside, feeling the wind and the sun (or any element, really) and the challenge of seeing what speeds and distances my 38-year-old body can attain. I classify my riding as avid. I do train with an amateur team, but prefer not to participate in official races to keep my weekends free for family activities. When not out with a group, I am fine to take to the roads by myself. Last Monday was one such occasion.

It was beautiful day; 85 degrees, gentle breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. Helmet and sunglasses donned, shoes clipped in, and chain freshly degreased, I headed out on a familiar 35 mile route to clear my mind and enjoy the solitude of solo exercise. I live within the city limits of Indianapolis, but am able to escape to less travelled country roads with just 15 minutes of pedaling. Reaching minute 16, however, can sometimes be a challenge. Maybe in part due to our city’s affiliation with auto racing, I have found many a motorist has have yet to buy into the concept of “sharing the road” with their leg-powered two wheel counterparts. Near misses are a regular occurrence.

On minute 3 of Monday’s ride I was crossing through a residential neighborhood when I spotted a rapidly approaching UPS truck out of the corner of my eye. I thought nothing of it as he had a stop sign and I did not. Seconds later, when it became clear that the driver did not intend to make a complete stop, I swerved into the (thankfully clear) oncoming lane to avoid a collision as he rolled through the stop sign and turned into my lane.

For next 10 minutes, I contemplated what life would have been like plastered to the front of a brown bus. I then resumed post-adeline composure and took solace in the fact that I was still upright and pedaling. Now I must admit, I am not perfect. I make mistakes and it is only fair that I allow others the same consideration. I am also relatively (ok, very) impatient and at times have been known to drive a motor vehicle aggressively.  That said, I do not think it is appropriate for a professional driver to commit a traffic violation and broadside a cyclist.

When I arrived safely home I sent the following tweet:

4:20pm: @AndyJankowski: Near miss with @UPS driver while #cycling today. No worries – nobody’s perfect – but did make me think about going @Fedex 😉

What happened next was nothing short of a Social Media best practice case study.

Please note the times listed.

4:28pm: @UPSHelp: Yikes! We’d like to notify your local area. Feel free to email the incident location + contact info to twitter@ups.com.

So, I emailed them:

From: Andy Jankowski
Subject: Cycling incident
Date: July 23, 2012 4:50:14 PM EDT
To: twitter@ups.com


Thanks for your kind response to my tweet (@andyjankowski). My near miss cycling incident happened today around 1:30 EST in the Echo Point neighborhood of Indianapolis. I swerved to miss one of your trucks that rolled through a stop sign. No harm done – I understand your drivers are under pressure to make quick deliveries. I have rolled a stop sign before myself. If you could however just mention to your drivers to keep an eye out for us road cyclists we would greatly appreciate it.



And they replied:

From: twitter@ups.com
Subject: RE: Cycling incident
Date: July 23, 2012 5:10:39 PM EDT
To: Andy Jankowski

Hi Andy,

Thank you for your email. That definitely doesn’t sound like a good situation. I have informed our local management team of what took place today. You should be hearing from someone within one hour to discuss what happened and so that we can make sure that this doesn’t happen in the future. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention and allowing me to respond.

Best regards,

[the first and last name of a real person] – removed as I did not ask for permission to post
UPS Corporate Social Media Team

I received a call less than 20 minutes later.

The person who called was extremely professional and genuinely concerned. They asked a few questions regarding the location of the incident, confirmed that they knew exactly who the driver was and stated that they would be contacting their supervisor and taking the appropriate action to ensure that such an incident did not happen again.

I am now a UPS customer and brand advocate for life.

Needless to say, I was blown away. I cannot remember the last time I have experienced a situation where a large company:

  • Paid careful attention to their (small) actions
  • Responded almost immediately
  • Showed genuine compassion for me as a person
  • Took full responsibility for their actions
  • Followed through and made changes to improve

That day concluded with the following tweets:

@AndyJankowski: Amazed by the responsiveness & genuine concern of @UPSHelp ! I tweeted an issue & received a tweet, email & live call in < 1 hour. Awesome!

@UPSHelp: @AndyJankowski Glad we were able to help! Thanks for the Twitter praise! @UPS

Now a week later, I am still blown away – which is why I have spent my Monday morning writing this post.

I do hope you will share this story.

I think it is a great example of how social media, done right, can make a lasting impression and secure your company a customer and even a brand advocate for life.

Andy Jankowski

Andy is a Social Business researcher, advisor and keynote speaker. During the last 19 years he has served as a trusted advisor for several leading organizations including Andersen, Ernst & Young, JP Morgan Chase and Oracle. He is a career long student of enterprise communication and collaboration. He has both written for, and been written about, in Forbes and The Huffington Post. Andy is a frequent conference speaker and an avid road cyclist. He enjoys connecting people and dots.

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  • Anna Millman
    Posted at 18:17h, 17 August Reply

    Hi Andy,

    Your blog post is a delight to read on so many levels!

    We love logistics, especially the logistics of social media.

    Anna Millman, UPS Social Media 

    • Andy Jankowski
      Posted at 20:49h, 17 August Reply

      Thanks Anna. I appreciate the great work of your team. I live in Social Media – it’s the best example of “how to do things right” that I have experienced to date.

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