Anyone who knows me or has read more than one post here knows I love The Pit whole hog barbecue in Raleigh. I have been a fan since 2009 when I was so impressed that I even wrote up how The Pit was doing social media right. I became friends with Eric Harris who was a the manager there and also the brains and the energy behind their awesome Twitter presence.
Eric understood the power of the new social networks and how he could leverage them to help his business. He understood the most crucial aspect of Twitter and Foursquare – that he was talking to real live people. Eric never lost sight of the goals of every social media campaign – bring in more business, make existing customers more loyal and organically spread good will that reflects back on your business.
I ran into Eric a couple of weeks ago and he told me he was moving over to manage The Raleigh Times. I didn’t think to much of it until today.
Last night I tweeted at The Pit’s Twitter account asking if they could hold a table for me at lunch today. As usual I heard back from the account that it was taken care of. I assumed that Eric was still handling the social media for The Pit.
I didn’t really think anything else about it after that. I was confident that my favorite restaurant would have a table for me at lunch.
Then something happened this morning that was totally unexpected and caught me by surprise. At about 9am I received another reply from The Pit but this one had a very different feel to it. I immediately knew it wasn’t Eric. It must be whoever took over the day-to-day Twitter responsibility for The Pit.
So what was so shocking to me? What was so terrible that it caused me to sit down and write this post?
The response was lame.
The response wasn’t bad or mean or inappropriate. It was just lame.
Because I have always been a huge fan of The Pit’s social media prowess it killed me to see them slip down to the level of “not awesome”. The reason I think the response was lame is because it was written from the perspective of “how can we direct this potential customer so that he conforms to how we need things done” rather than “how can we help”. In addition, the link provided was wrong. It should have been a link to the reservation service through Open Table.
I think people who don’t have a passion for social media think it’s easy. Great social media is not easy. It’s hard work.
The reason I love The Pit is because Eric Harris and everyone there always made me feel like I was special. They have a passion for customer service which came through loud and clear through Twitter.
I still love The Pit. It is still my go-to restaurant when someone comes to visit from up north. It’s still the place I always suggest for a big party type of event.
I hope Eric takes some time to explain not just the tactics of Twitter to the new person, but the goals and strategy that made me their biggest fan.