Do you ever feel like you give your money to people who could not care one iota less about you? I feel that way – all. the. time. I decided to do an impromptu experiment and look at my interactions with companies over the past month to see who’s doing customer service and engagement right and who’s doing it wrong. I don’t think it will come as a shocker that most of the companies I’ve had contact with over the past month are doing it wrong.
I’m not going to pick on smaller, local brands that may not have the ability to engage, but here is how the “big dogs” failed on Twitter:
1) I gave props to the Motorola Droid and LinkedIn, using proper hashtags and @s. No love.
2) I tried to engage with Borders and Starbucks, also using proper Twitter symbols. No response.
3) And, I took some jabs at Borders, Famous Footwear and Jabra, again using proper symbols. Nada.
1) I emailed Jabra asking to purchase a product and was basically told “we can’t help you.” I never understand why businesses make it so hard for you to give them your money!
2) I emailed Living Social to ask about a problem with a voucher I purchased. It’s been two weeks and no response.
I had to interrupt the conversation of the three employees at a United Dairy Farmers so I could get one of them to ring me out. Again, don’t make it so hard for me to give you my money!
But someone has to be doing it right, right?
Here’s who’s doing it right, as far as I can tell:
1) Herold Family Automotive in Parma, OH – I know only slightly more than zilch about cars, so I need a mechanic I can trust. The guys at Herold Family Automotive always take great care of my car and are honest about whether or not I need something done. And, every time I take my car in for service, I get a personal phone call a few days later thanking me for my business. Every time.
2) Lodi Station Outlets – Just today, Lodi Station Outlets engaged a fellow tweeter and me in conversation. Didn’t try to sell us anything or promote their brand. Just engaged. In addition, I read a post by another blogger about the Outlets’ excellent engagement with her. Well done!
3) Kohl’s – Hassle-free returns every time. Awesomeness.
4) Verizon – Yeah, Verizon. Crazy, right? I never thought I’d say a cell phone company was doing things right, but guess what? They are. In the past month, I’ve had to make two phone calls and one in-person visit to a store. All three times I’ve had my issues resolved and questions answered quickly, competently and completely to my satisfaction.
So what’s the point? I think there are a few takeaways:
1) National and multi-national brands must be listening, responding and engaging on social sites. Period. It’s very close to, if not already at, the point where a consumer will choose between like companies based on their social interactions.
2) As a consumer, vote with your dollars. If you have a bad experience that you can’t get resolved, take your business elsewhere, but realize that this isn’t going to hurt the big guys much. There are plenty of other buyers to take your place.
3) As a consumer, shop local when you can. It’s not always convenient or affordable, but your business does matter to local restaurants, service providers and shops.
Yeah, but what about Facebook?
I’m sure there are lots of people who write about brands that engage well (or not) on Facebook, but I’m not going to be one of them. (Maybe you could!) It is with great reluctance that I even have a Facebook page.
Share your customer service stories in the comments…GO!