Our favourite festive news story unfolded on Twitter this year. A story from Wimbledon, South London, about community and the heart of what’s important in life – caring for others, and being cared for. An absolute corker of a tale from The Alexandra pub, run by Mick and Sarah Dore.

On the pub’s website it reads “The Alexandra is proud to be your quality Wimbledon local and a proper British pub, not “gastro”, “trendy” nor “theme”, just real. That’s nice you might think, but this is much more than just ‘a line’. Mick manages the pub’s Twitter account and has quickly become one of our favourite people on social media – natural, honest, light hearted, sometimes cheeky, and ultimately human. His updates are like the warm winter sun on a chilly day. They also tell you all you need to know about the kind of pub The Alexandra is.

Just before Christmas we spotted Mick was in a bit of a quandry. He was desperate to find a customer who’d left his pay packet in the pub after work and return it to him before the holidays. Mick turned to Twitter for help and the search to #FindMariusz spread like a bad case of Norovirus.

Only this was much more fun. Everyone got together to retweet Mick’s appeals, and retweet and retweet some more. JK Rowling got involved and the hunt went global. Come on Mariusz where are you we cried, someone out there must know you…? The hunt went on, still no word, but Mick didn’t give up. Then one day the door opened and in Mariusz walked; he couldn’t believe his luck. He’d gone back to Poland for Christmas and given up on finding the money. He hadn’t even plucked up the courage to tell his wife. The £600 was now back in his pocket where it belonged and Twitter roared with delight. It was a very happy ending.

We loved this story from the start, the drama, the suspense, the determination, the whole (Twitter) world waiting. It was the best Christmas present and ultimate social media gold. And we weren’t the only ones who liked it. The story was picked up by the Metro, Evening Standard, Sun, Guardian, Telegraph, BBC news and ITV, reaching millions of people in London and beyond.

We’d never heard of The Alexandra in Wimbledon, but now we have to go. We feel like we know Mick and Sarah, that we’re part of their community and we want to say hello. Why? Because The Alexandra loves its customers and puts people first. It’s not the product it sells or its four walls, it’s their natural (unconscious) ability to breathe in synch with its community and connect with the common (wo)man. Sounds like somewhere pretty special wouldn’t you agree?

Being personable is being profitable

It sounds special because it’s not something we come across every day; businesses struggle to get this stuff right. Many companies shy away from this kind of interaction with their customers, try and fake it or just forget along the way. It doesn’t matter what you sell or what service you provide, you can always be more human, responsive and more ‘real’. Always remember the people your business set out to help and that people appreciate the simple touches. Value your customers, understood them, listen to them, make them laugh and enhance their life. Choose this approach and your customers will choose you.

To learn how to build better relationships with your customers and increase your influence online get in touch with Bare.