Monday, January 9, 2012

Social Media is the New Customer Service Experience

There’s no doubt that social media has redefined the meaning of customer service. Business across the globe have set up various forms of socially interactive platforms to extend a personal touch to their customers and make new ones in the process. At least that is true for those who take customer service at heart. For those who don’t, social media certainly lands at the advantage of the customer seeking service.
I’ve had a recent experience when my pre-schooler accidently installed an app on my phone. No, not the free ones. A good amount of change was promptly removed from my account. By the time, I realized the faux pas,  I couldn't get an immediate refund from the marketplace. I had to contact the developer. Here was where all the fun began.

My first instinct was to find contact information. I found an email where I sent a summary of the event. Then I went to the website in search of a phone number. I found a “tech” help section that came with some numbers and an email support ticket. I decided to send an support ticket. I received a form response acknowledging my request. The following morning I get an email. Breathing a sigh of relief, I replied to the questions that was asked; confirmation number, name address all of the legitimate questions that assured me someone was going to take care of me.  But, then a minute later, to my horror, I receive another form response. This time telling me my email was not “processed” because my replies were not within certain “parameters”.  I was completely shocked. What legitimate company in their right mind would reject replies? My worst nightmare seem to unfold before me. What I didn’t mention earlier was that my cherubic child installed this app from the European marketplace.  So now I’m thinking, how in the world do I get money back from a foreign country? I return to the website, and find the phone numbers. I call the first number. Someone answers, listens to my issue and promptly tells me, we don’t issue refunds, but could transfer me to someone who could help. I got a voice mail box. At this point, I wanted to speak with a live person. I didn’t leave a message, but called again (800 number) the same person picks up. I ask for a supervisor or superior. Nope. None available. I ask for the schedule of the person she transferred me to. What do you know…she doesn’t know that either.  Looooong story short, I called another number and was redirected unto infinity. My husband called multiple numbers as well, in addition to the marketplace only to end up with the same email address that rejected my reply.  (Inject screaming & hair-pulling here.)



I decided to do a little hunting. I read reviews that complained of poor customer service and no opportunity to speak to an real person. I read reviews that requested refunds and was ignored.  One review shared their fight for a refund and ended up getting one in five weeks. THAT spurred me into action. There was no way this was going to drag out. I knew I had to get a bit dirty if I wanted to see my money again. I had to take my issue to the social medias. Doing this went against every instinct I had. I abhor negativity, so my goal was to bring the issue to the company’s Facebook, Twitter and blog with as much dignity as possible. I had no other recourse, at this point. There was no way, I was going to allow this company walk off in the sunset with my children’s meal.

I was ignored on Twitter at first, but Facebook proved to be the winner. Especially so, when I commented after another Facebook user’s comment asking for…can you guess? That’s right. A refund. I did my best to be classy while in full mama bear mode. Comments ensued, respectfully, between us.  When I called them out on their customer service issue, I was told the issue was “raised” and that some one will speak to me soon. (How many tech people does it take to refund a customer? I actually asked them that. See how I made a passive/aggressive, unfunny funny? That’s me trying to keep it classy!) There was no contact after a few days. I took to their blog. I insisted on speaking to a live person, as *cough* respectfully as possible. I shared my frustrations with their…”customer service” or lack of. I copied the email form response rejecting my reply to further support what I’ve been experiencing. I guess that did it, because I received an email in the dark of the night titled “Refund”! All of this spanned over a period of NINE days. And I have not spoken to ONE representative outside of social media context.

More often than not, LOTS of companies bend over backwards for their customers.  But for the ones who need a little *ahem* improvement in the customer service department, social media, if used respectfully, and respectably,  can be on the winning side of the beleaguered customer.


2 comments:

  1. how frustrating! I know!! I have been there too..the remarkable thing to me is how do they stay in business? If i write a letter to the CEO of the company...suddenly things change...

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow fabulous post
    new follower of ur blog
    now follow my blog
    http://glamorousgirlblog.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

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