On his website Dr. Bret L. Simmons tells the story of his own personal experience with service failure, and how AT&T was able to use social marketing as a means to discover the problem and eventually engage in service recovery.
Dr. Simmons was promised $300 in gift cards from AT&T when he switched to their service for cable and internet. He was very satisfied with the product he received, but was not so happy with AT&T's failure to deliver his promised rewards. He was given only half of the promised amount, over a month later than he was told they would arrive, and when he tried to activate one of the cards his cable and internet stopped working.
The Benefit of Social Marketing
At this point Simmons became truly frustrated and decided to rant about AT&T on Twitter. Soon after, he was contacted by an AT&T representative who asked for Simmmons' number and merely passed it onto someone else. This case of procedural unfairness frustrated Simmons even further, so he went back on Twitter and complained again. Soon after, he was contacted by the same representative who apologized, and made sure that his phone number made it to the right people--an example of interactional fairness--which impressed Simmons and gave him a positive view of AT&T's employees, though not necessarily their system which forced the representative to pass on Simmon's number rather than helping himself--another example of procedural unfairness.
In the end, Dr. Simmons got his full $300 reward--outcome fairness--though AT&T clearly has some issues it needs to address in terms of inconveniencing the customer and wasting his/her time.
AT&T did a good job of monitoring and addressing customer complaints. Social media sites, like Twitter, can be very beneficial to companies who may not hear from their distraught customers another way.