Crisis Customer Service Done Right – NYC Swim

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Late tonight, NYC Swim made the decision to cancel the 2013 Hudson River Swim, 13 hours before the race start tomorrow morning, due to weather advisories, water safety advisories, high winds, and small craft advisories. With 2013 being one of the coldest Memorial Day Weekends on record in NYC, air temperatures at the start were estimated to be in the 40s, and 50s in the water. Ugh!

I was scheduled to race, and had pretty much told myself I probably wouldn’t because of the weather, specifically the temps. I was bummed, because it’s a fun race, but 50 degree water AND air temps are brutal, and the last thing I needed was to get sick at the beginning of the season. So when I got the email from NYC Swim announcing the cancelation around 10:20pm tonight, my guilt for not wanting to swim was immediately absolved.

Photo: NYCSwim.org

More importantly, NYC Swim did EXACTLY what a company is supposed to do when forces out of their control require major changes on the fly. The first email came at 7pm, alerting us that as of then, the swim was still on, but we’d get an email around 10pm with an update. In other words, “hey, we’re letting you know that we’ll be reaching out again in a few hours with the possibility of change, be aware.”

The update email at 10:20pm alerted us to the cancelation, and I saw it, and assumed that was the end of it. They followed up and let us know, as they said they would, cool. But then, four minutes later, my mobile phone rang with an 888 number I didn’t recognize. I answered it, and it was a recording from NYC Swim, alerting me again to the cancelation.

Two minutes later, my wife called me (I was on a CVS Drugstore run, welcome to having a newborn,) telling me that the home phone had just rang with the same NYC Swim recording.

Wow. So email first, mobile phone second, and home phone third. THAT’S notification.

Yes, it sucks that the race was canceled, but NYC Swim did exactly the right thing. They alerted in every way possible. But wait! There’s more!

See, here’s where it goes above and beyond from a customer service perspective: You’d think, “OK, they alerted people, they did what they should have done, end of story.” And you’d be right because that’s as much as we expect.

But NYC Swim took it a step further. From the cancelation email they sent, notice they did two things immediately:

1) Please feel free to join us any time between 9:25 and 11:00 at the start location to pick up your souvenir T-shirt and see fellow swimmers and volunteers. All swimmers who had been approved for the event will receive a 50% credit toward a new enrollment for a 2013 or 2014 swim series event. You will see the option to enroll at a discount in the online enrollment form.

2) Still want to get in a swim? Pick up your goody bag and take it to the Reebok Club on Columbus Avenue at West 67th Street. The complimentary entry pass inside gets you access to all facilities, including the pool, fitness center, track and Jacuzzi where you can warm up and soak the day away. We were really looking forward to this event and are truly sorry that the swim won’t be held. We greatly appreciate your support and hope to see you tomorrow even without the swim.

So to recap: They’ll be at the swim start tomorrow morning anyway, even though the swim is canceled, to greet anyone who didn’t get the email or phone calls, as well as anyone who wants to stop by for the goody bag. AND, (and you know they had to have done this in advance,) they made arrangements to allow one of the top gyms in the city to give every registered swimmer access to their pool, fitness center, track, and Jacuzzi tomorrow. Were you planning on using tomorrow’s race as a workout? Simply go to the Reebok club, and you still can, for free.

Consider that all this was offered to swimmers because of a weather cancel, something out of NYC Swim’s control, something they easily could have said wasn’t their fault. Instead, they stepped up. THIS is how you handle something out of your control. You do what you need to do on the spot, but you also pre-plan in case of a crisis. I’m willing to bet that every registered 2013 swimmer will sign up for the 2014 race, and that a good amount will show up tomorrow morning at the start, knowing full well there won’t be a race. I know I will.

Bravo to NYC Swim. Customer service and crisis management at its finest.

  • Mat

    obviously you have no clue what common sense is..keep drinking his kool-aid…

    • Lara

      If you don’t like the drinks at the party, bring your own or go home. Why bother coming here just to be a jerk?

      • Mat

        This was 6 months ago so to even try to reply with an accurate response as to walk ticked me off that day is a lost cause on my part. I went home 6 months ago, but thanks for suggesting.

  • Mat

    obviously you have no clue what common sense is..keep drinking his kool-aid…

    • Lara

      If you don’t like the drinks at the party, bring your own or go home. Why bother coming here just to be a jerk?

      • Mat

        This was 6 months ago so to even try to reply with an accurate response as to walk ticked me off that day is a lost cause on my part. I went home 6 months ago, but thanks for suggesting.

  • Mat

    small companies will have little ROI on social media, but that’s why spending or having someone within your company working this out. You need a presence, it’s the amount of time and effort put into that at the right times is what the bad thing is for most.

  • Mat

    small companies will have little ROI on social media, but that’s why spending or having someone within your company working this out. You need a presence, it’s the amount of time and effort put into that at the right times is what the bad thing is for most.

  • i am sure you are a “social media expert” LOL

  • i am sure you are a “social media expert” LOL

  • Ginevra Adamoli Ph.D

    This is a provocative opinion, but it lacks support, so it comes out as outdated and biased. What are your facts for your claims? You states that social media experts can’t write. Really? We are generalizing this much? Yes, they are many and probably too many people who call themselves social media experts when in reality they have no understanding on how to use new emerging communications technologies to increase sales, but maybe then the problem is on the companies that will rather hire cheap labor than a real expert. So maybe the question is: Why are businesses not investing in social media experts?

  • Ginevra Adamoli Ph.D

    This is a provocative opinion, but it lacks support, so it comes out as outdated and biased. What are your facts for your claims? You states that social media experts can’t write. Really? We are generalizing this much? Yes, they are many and probably too many people who call themselves social media experts when in reality they have no understanding on how to use new emerging communications technologies to increase sales, but maybe then the problem is on the companies that will rather hire cheap labor than a real expert. So maybe the question is: Why are businesses not investing in social media experts?

  • John

    The Article outcome states whats the Social Media purpose is for and its effects……just look at the people following this post and commenting on it……..

  • John

    The Article outcome states whats the Social Media purpose is for and its effects……just look at the people following this post and commenting on it……..

  • Lara

    “In today’s world, build it and they will come no longer works, not just
    for the web, but also for mortar and pestle businesses sometimes now,
    too.”

    I think you mean ‘bricks and mortar’… but still, I don’t see Peter saying that businesses don’t need internet marketing/customer service consultants or employees. He’s saying that someone who calls themselves a “social media expert” is kind of taking advantage of the exact types of people/businesses you’re describing here.

  • Lara

    “In today’s world, build it and they will come no longer works, not just
    for the web, but also for mortar and pestle businesses sometimes now,
    too.”

    I think you mean ‘bricks and mortar’… but still, I don’t see Peter saying that businesses don’t need internet marketing/customer service consultants or employees. He’s saying that someone who calls themselves a “social media expert” is kind of taking advantage of the exact types of people/businesses you’re describing here.

  • John Runk

    If you have to call yourself an expert, in any capacity, you probably aren’t one.

  • John Runk

    If you have to call yourself an expert, in any capacity, you probably aren’t one.

  • Mindy

    I do agree with SOME of what you said, but you seriously need an attitude adjustment!

  • Mindy

    I do agree with SOME of what you said, but you seriously need an attitude adjustment!

  • Mindy

    I do agree with SOME of what you said, but you seriously need an attitude adjustment!

  • Mindy

    I do agree with SOME of what you said, but you seriously need an attitude adjustment!

  • Mindy

    I do agree with SOME of what you said, but you seriously need an attitude adjustment!

  • Mindy

    I do agree with SOME of what you said, but you seriously need an attitude adjustment!

  • NojuanEspecial

    Putting bread in the fridge makes it hard and dry.

  • The article has very good merit. But I do need a Social Media Expert (part time). I run a video production company in a relatively small community and the demographics are of a somewhat older generation, (including myself). I’m also involved in 2 of the towns chambers and talk to many business owners every week. Most of these people have no idea about using social media for marketing their businesses, or seo and some don’t even have a website (just rely on passing trade). I produce videos for these businesses but then, they have no clue how to use social media to expand their market share. No idea how to finesse seo to be on first search page, no idea how to use analytics to monitor their direction. They want to, and here’s the part the younger generation don’t seem to understand, they put in straight into the ‘Too hard basket”. It’s just too much for the older generation to grasp. They didn’t grow up with this sort of thing. The point I’m getting to is this: I want to produce a package deal where a business owner just doesn’t get a video to promote their business but attached to this video package, I need a ‘Social Media Expert’ to guide them through HOW to promote using social media, YouTube, adverts, seo, analytics and so on.This would, I believe, make my video productions a much more attractive business proposition. Any experts out there? lol

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