This year’s Boston Marathon should have been like any other – a celebration of accomplishment, shared by friends and family.
Then the unexpected happened. In an instant, chaos and confusion overwhelmed the area. There was disbelief, fear and questions.
This is the predicament that our very own Art Director, Jason Cheshire was faced with Monday afternoon while attending the Boston Marathon. Luckily, he and his friends had been a block away at their hotel when the horrible incident occurred. However, quickly after the attacks Boston went into lockdown mode. All city cell towers had been shut down. Calling anyone was virtually impossible. There wasn’t enough bandwidth left, with all the media broadcasting, to seek out answers on the social-sphere. Communication was key and texting seemed to be the only option.
Chesh and his group, which included a 10 week-old baby, were forced to evacuate their hotel and come up with an exit plan. Driving out of Copley Square was impossible. By then the streets were flooded with cop cars, ambulances, and security vehicles. Rumors and speculation began to fly – there was a bomb on the train, two more bombs were found and disarmed, the JFK library had been bombed, there were bomb threats at Tufts Medical Center, and hotels in the Copley square vicinity were under threat. They needed to get somewhere safe. Preferably out of Boston.
Where to go and how to get there proved to be more difficult then they anticipated. Chad Turner, our Co-Founder, proposed they hop on the Green Line of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and he would pick them up in Riverside. The problem was that neither Chesh nor Chad knew if any Line was even running. Instead of wasting time trying to find the MBTA Customer Service phone number to call, Chad decided to tweet @mbtaGM. They directly messaged him minutes later with the current status of the Green Line and a link to the current information regarding all Boston T’s. Just like that Chad was able to get a quick and efficient response without having to call. You couldn’t even search for a telephone number in that amount of time and, since many of the businesses had been evacuated, calling wasn’t even an option.
It goes to show us just how important and rewarding social media can be for businesses everywhere. Social media has been seen as a source of direct communication, which businesses can constantly use to engage with current customers and prospects. Comparatively, it is also an efficient 24-hour customer service platform. So whether you own a small business or a big corporation you should be working towards achieving this level of customer service (if you haven’t already).
Hats off to the MBTA and their responsive social media team! #Nicejob