Toothless Social Media Reps Update (Pt. 1): The Good Guys!

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A month or so ago, after a particularly irksome stay at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas, I declared the era of toothless social media reps “over”. How successful that declaration will prove to be, it’s too early to tell – but what is clear is that I was far from the only person to be frustrated by brands not living up to their implicit or explicit social media promises.

The stories of good and bad Twitter service continue to arrive in my inbox – I’ve had just over 100 now – but more than enough time has passed for the first of two promised updates.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of stories fell on the negative side of the fence but, just to demonstrate that not everyone sucks, let’s start with the happy endings. So to speak.

The first is from Dell customer Jeremy Perkins who writes…

“I actually want to share a success story. Almost two years ago I brought a customized Dell PC which was eligible for a free Win 7 upgrade. After filling out the info on the upgrade site I never got any information on shipping well past the time frame and calling tech support got no answers. Venting on Twitter a dell rep contacted me and then sent me a dm for my info. Two hours later I had the information on when my disc was shipping and her sincere apologies. Talk about efficiency!”

One point for Dell. And so on to ‘Maggie’ who has nothing by praise for ClearlyContacts…

“Fortunately, I have been on the receiving end of good customer service on Twitter. @ClearlyContacts replies promptly and can access customer order information. They were able to give me updated tracking information for my order and also send me an email (to the email address tied to my account). There seems to be two set people (who identify themselves by their initials) who run the Twitter and Facebook accounts. So there’s one example where Twitter and Facebook is used for efficient CSR. Their customer service number is usually very busy.”

Excellent. Next up, PC Tools customer, Kellie Brown…

“Responding to your post on TC about lousy customer service through social media. In a nutshell, I wholeheartedly agree that most companies use of social media as a customer service tool is a complete ruse. It’s only when people with any kind of following complain that responses are given – even then, the results are questionable.

Anyway, one company I did have a positive experience with was PC Tools (an internet security company owned by Symantec). Whoever runs their social media actually does a fantastic job of responding to customer complaints, accelerating requests, and doesn’t leave customers hanging. Albeit, there are plenty of complaints as they evoke auto-renewals of the subscription (my issue that was resolved, through Facebook, no less).

I’ve since gotten rid of Facebook, but this is one company that is doing something right – and has clearly allotted for the occasional backlash that companies can see when using social media.”

Well done, PC Tools. And well done too Office Depot whose social media reps went above and beyond for Martin Kalfatovic…

“Had an issue with Office Depot; posted on Twitter, they got back to me during a weekend; send me an email contact high up in customer service; got an apology from the store manager, regional manager and offer to have a phone conversation with store manager to further discuss the issue. I probably could have had some financial remuneration if I wanted to actually talk with the manager, but I was happy enough with the response to my comments.”

Nova Spivack explains how a solid social media team can make the difference between a good break-up and a bad one…

“My Lenovo Thinkpad was a lemon. After a series of unfortunate hardware issues it finally crashed, along with a portion of my data. After emailing Lenovo for weeks and bouncing from one clueless rep to another, I finally began loudly complaining on Twitter. This message worked. I got a response from Lenovo online, and was quickly connected to a rep who finally was able able to help me resolve the issue and I rescued my data, and they offered to refund my money.

I gave a positive tweet to the rep who finally helped me, here. This is an example of a social media team that actually seems to be helping. Actually they work better than Lenovo’s actual support team. I still switched to Mac, I’m fed up with Windows, and done with Lenovo, but at least I don’t hate them. It’s the difference between a good breakup and a bad one.”

A similar story from Red Envelope, courtesy of Andy Garlikov…

“I got an issue with Red Envelope resolved via Twitter. A pair of slippers I got as a birthday gift from my wife from them just fell apart a couple months after their 12-mo warranty ran out. Not sorta wore out… the soles practically dissolved. Phone reps and supervisors were unhelpful, unbending and, eventually, rude. I took it to Twitter. One post. Didn’t even get as far as posting a pic. Got a message from someone there asking to help, giving me a name and #. When I didn’t call them quickly as I’d planned, they followed up again. When i called, the rep who left the message promptly replaced the slippers, even including the monogramming.

They deserve credit for not just using the svc to find disaffected customers, but for relentless follow-up!”

Finally, over in the UK, Bill Glover got a little extra help from the Halifax…

“I had the opposite experience to that with your hotel WiFi when I tweeted about not being able to pay a cheque into a branch of Halifax bank in the UK. Not only did they jump on Twitter to help, they provided information, timescales and a contact in the branch I could ask for on my next visit. There is hope out there. Some companies get it right.”

Next up: the horror stories. But first, Disrupt!