Do I need to shout on Social Media to get service? Is that the only way?

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Yes, I run a Social Media business, and to an extent, I understand the dynamics of the space.

But that does not mean that at the smallest provocation of a personal problem, I run to Social Media, to complain about brands. In fact, quite the contrary.

I’d rather wait for the normal course of service, to get problems resolved, if they can get resolved. And perhaps wait a little more after that.

It is only when the patience totally runs out, after a long wait, that I actually vent it out, on Social Media.

But I have unfortunately seen, in 3-4 cases over the last few months, that the service urgency, at the service provider’s end, only started, after I vented out my frustrations, on Social Media!

And which is sad.

By the time, I am out there, screaming and shouting, on Facebook and Twitter and the occasional blog post, the brand has already got badly hurt. Even if I were to go back later, and give a confirmation of matters getting sorted out, the damage would have got done.

Why are brands not responding well, in the normal run? Why does it take that embarrassment on social media, to wake them up?

Back in September, 2010, I ranted about the terrible service experience with Lenovo. After the blog post and my cribs on Facebook, and thanks to a couple of friends taking the story to Lenovo’s management, the matter got addresses promptly. And a quick resolve happened. The problem was clearly not unsurmountable, but it needed this push, for them to give me the solution. By that time, enough of #LenovoSucks had already happened, and perhaps many retweeted also!!

It was the same experience with Citibank. After the blog and the tweets and what not, Citibank “heard”, and matter was resolved quickly. Why did they not resolve it earlier? Why did they test my patience and wait for me to scream and shout, albeit virtually, before resolving the case??

More recently, I went to town after waiting for THREE WEEKS for the Tata Photon Wi-fi unit to be repaired. After having my person run from one service center to another, and not getting service anywhere, I was finally fed up, and cribbed on Twitter. Instantly, there were a lot of people who sympathized with my cause, as they had gone through similar challenges. The tweets got momentum. Finally in the course of a few hours, I got a response on Twitter, that they are escalating my problem.

Ok, so why does it take them 3 weeks to “escalate”??

Or more precisely, why does it take them, this embarrassment on Twitter, to THEN escalate??

But they did escalate.

So far, when we called their customer service, they had refused to do anything except ask us to go to their service centers. And perhaps, this product has a fundamental problem. As NONE of the service centers were willing to repair it. Perhaps they KNOW that this is irreparable. Yet, the customer service call center would only direct us to their service centers.

Now, with the Twitter push, suddenly, they found someone to come to our office to look at it. And after spending some time on the unit, and not being able to do anything with it, he replaced it! But there was still some hitch of authorizing the unit or something. So it still did not work.

So I got a call from a senior person, who profusely apologized and requested me to bear with them till Monday, by when they will get the unit replaced.

Just like I had got a call from Lenovo Bangalore, when I had complained on Social Media, about their pathetic service.

WHY do they wake up only after the ruckus? Are they fundamentally NOT equipped to service all the calls they get? Do they all believe that “if you ignore the customer long enough, in most cases, he will just go away”??

I feel sorry for the Lenovos and the Citibanks and the Tata Photons, as they all want to get a public spectacle made of themselves, before they will take action. Well, if it harms their reputation, I guess they are getting what they deserve, considering their service policies and priorities..

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