Monday, January 30, 2012

How TV and Twitter Replaced My Broken Window

I'll admit it...I'm a fan of reality TV shows. I would love to get on The Amazing Race some day, and I watch other shows like Survivor and Big Brother and enjoy all the unscripted interactions and drama that unfolds while the camera is rolling.

As a former business major, another show that I really enjoy watching is Undercover Boss on CBS (Sunday nights up to this point, but moving to Friday nights on February 17). For those of you who haven't seen the show, the CEO or one of the highest ranking officers within a company or organization disguises their identity and then goes to work in various aspects of that company's day-to-day operations. They usually learn about some areas in their organization that need to change for the better and they usually find out about great front-line employees along the way. At the end of each episode, the CEO reveals his or her true identity and usually makes the necessary changes and rewards the deserving employees. It's usually a real feel-good hour that may or may not have you reaching for kleenex to dab the tears from your eyes.

Two weeks ago, the season premiere for the second season of the show was about Stephen Cloobeck, the CEO of Diamond Resorts International. For the first time in all the episodes that I have watched, I really felt like his appearance on the show hurt his company's public perception. If you watched the episode (or click this link to view it online now), I would love your take on him and whether or not you would do business with his company after seeing it.

The next episode a week ago was about Dina Dwyer-Owens, the CEO of the Dwyer Group. Her organization oversees the operations of seven service-based franchise organizations: Aire Serv®, Glass Doctor®, Mr. Appliance®, Mr. Electric®, Mr. Rooter®, Rainbow International® and The Grounds Guys™. In this episode (which you can view here now), Dina worked as a plumber, a groundskeeper, and an appliance repair person. She was able to help one franchise owner see the value of her organization's Code of Values. She also came across talented, hard-working employees, who she was able to reward and hopefully secure as long-tenured partners in the mission of what the Dwyer Group is all about.

I'll be honest...I had never heard of the Dwyer Group (which is headquartered in Waco, Texas) or any of the seven franchise brands prior to watching that episode of Undercover Boss. However, I was impressed with Dina and was tweeting about the show while it aired using the #UndercoverBoss hashtag. After my very first tweet, I got an almost immediate reply from Lori Johnson, the Marketing Director for the Dwyer Group, saying "and she really is like that - a wonderful person and leader :) thanks for watching!" I was floored! I exchanged a few more tweets with her and several of their corporate accounts started following me.

When the show was ending, Dina made an emotional statement about hoping that her deceased father was proud of the leader she had become and also how she was running the organization. I immediately tweeted her saying that he was and that she shouldn't ever wonder that again. I never really expected a response being that she was a busy CEO, so imagine my pleasant surprise when this tweet popped into my feed:

I had a few more tweet exchanges with Dina, Lori, and various members of the Dwyer Group family and researched what all they were involved in. We had a broken window at our house that I had needed repaired for awhile, and with Glass Doctor being one of their franchises I thought I would see if they serviced the Mount Vernon area. To my surprise, they did! So, I sent them a service request through their website and waited to see what would happen. Pretty soon, I got a call from Jared, the owner. He was pleasantly surprised when I told him that I was calling after watching the show. He said that corporate had told them that they might see an influx in inquiries because of the show, but he was a little skeptical about that. We had a great conversation and left it that he would get back to me when he could schedule a service appointment.

Well, he was able to come today and he did a great job replacing the window for a very reasonable cost. We also had a great chat about my views on the importance of social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, in spreading word of mouth advertising for business such as his. I think he left with a greater appreciation for its value and I won't be surprised when he sets up his very own Facebook page and Twitter account for his business. In fact, he has an open invitation to call me for any help with that. :)

I type all of this to say that once again Twitter has come through in connecting me with another great brand that I met through of all things reality TV. They have been very proactive in using this positive publicity to connect with potential customers. I know that Dina has been busy responding to everyone who tweeted her about the show, and she's taken the opportunity to attach coupons to those replies as a way to possibly encourage business like mine. I look forward to following the success of Dina and the Dwyer Group moving forward.