5 Ways To Lose Customers via Social Media

Social Media provides a remarkable opportunity to enhance the delivery of customer service. It also provides a means by which to fail on an epic scale. Here are 5 ways to fail using social media to provide service:

  1. Don’t provide 24/7 coverage when your product/service is time sensitive.  Kristina Allen wrote a great post about Fandango’s site crash last summer.  Basically, while the site was down and no one could purchase tickets, Fandango was no where to be found when it counted.  They got pilloried on Twitter and FB.
  2. Don’t respond to negative feedback in Social Media.  Most of us know the story of United Breaks Guitars.  It was clever – and damaging.  United’s response was non-existent and eventually inept. To understand how to respond to negative feedback, see Jason Falls great post.
  3. Threaten, lie, swear, and generally go postal on them.  Paul Christoforo of Ocean Marketing did exactly this.  It was an epic fail.  See the story here.
  4. Involve someone else without direct customer contact first.  Price Chopper’s fail is detailed here.
  5. Fail to disclose your affiliation with the company/organization.  Honda’s Crosstour facebook page was inundated with comments criticizing the new car.  A Honda employee started posting positive feedback, without disclosing his employer.  See the story here.

There is a huge opportunity to provide great customer service using Social Media.  But, there is a huge downside risk if you don’t have the right policies, processes and culture in place.



Great Digital Customer Feedback Process – AT&T Wireless

So, I went to the AT&T store yesterday to buy a new bluetooth earpiece to replace the one I lost (long story, another post).  I was short on time and new I would need something right then.  I picked a Plantronics (highly recommended) and left the store.  About 10 minutes later I received the following text:
Thanks for buying your mobile accessories from Christopher at our AT&T store.  We’ll text you shortly for some feedback.   (SURVEY TEXTS FREE)
Not bad.  Not sure I needed the whole warning thing, but I do appreciate the expectation setting on the cost of participating in case I was not the proud owner of an unlimited text subscription.  Next came the survey:
How satisfied were you with the service provided by Christopher our retail Rep – on a scale from 10 (completely) to 1 (not at all)?
I reply “10″ because Christopher is one of those guys that will be sitting in the executive suite at a large company someday and treated me like a truly valuable customer. Their response:
Happy to hear that.  How likely would you be to recommend AT&T to a friend – on a scale from 10 (definitely) to 1 (definitely not)?
I reply “8″ because the customer service is great, but the reception sucks. Everywhere.  Then I get the next question:
Thank you.  Could you tell us why you gave that rating, or how we could improve your AT&T experience?
I reply: Yes. Your customer service is usually a 10 and you cell coverage a 6.  So I averaged the two.  Their response:
Thanks. One final question: How long did you wait for a Sales Rep to assist you?
a. Less than 5 mins
b. 5-10 mins
c. 10-15 mins
d. 15-20 mins
e. 20 plus mi
My reply is “A.”  Their final response is:
Thanks again for your time and feedback.  Your comments will help us continually improve our stores & service. AT&T.
Three things about this interaction:
1. It engaged. - The survey was delivered quickly and the experience was still relevant.
2. It was (relatively) short. – It could have been shorter, but it was not so long that I quit in the middle.
3. It was (somewhat) personal.  – It included Christopher’s name and mine, but including the actual item purchased would have been a really nice touch
It will be interesting to watch and see how they progress with this.

Great Customer Experience – Entrepreneur Magazine

I absolutely love Entrepreneur Magazine.  I find the stories inspiring and the writing clean and easy.  So, I was perturbed when I tried to pull up the site on my iPhone the other morning.  There were numerous problems including slow pop-up ads (which you had to switch to landscape to close) and a comments section that constantly bounced up and down.  Normally, I don’t have the time or inclination to give feedback, but that morning I was in a “mood” so I fired off the following missive to Entrepreneur’s feedback email:

I love your mag but your site pretty much sucks on the iPhone.  First, the popup ads need to go away.  they are slow and you have to switch to landscape to be able to close them.  Check out CNBC to see how it is done.

Second, the comments section loads poorly and the site bounces up and down.  I left when I couldn’t read the comments.

Again, I’m a big fan, but I’m gonna lose interest if the mobile site is hard work.

And that was that.  I never expected my note to be read, let alone receive a response. Much to my (pleasant) surprise, I received the following response from Dave Pomije, VP of Digital at Entrepreneur Media, about two weeks after my note:


Sorry I haven’t responded sooner.  We just rolled out m.entrepreneur.com.

Please check it out and let me know what you think.  Soon, it will load by default for all mobile devices.

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.


We continued the discourse briefly and I am now a very happy camper and even bigger fan of the magazine.  There were three things that I loved about this experience:

1. Acknowledgement: Dave specifically acknowledged, through his response, that there was a problem.  It was not mine, it was theirs.  His response was not as prompt as I might have hoped, but there was a good reason–they were launching an entire site that addressed my complaint.  Good enough for me.

2. Solution: Dave gave me a solution to my problem. Period.

3. Engagement: Dave invited me to continue the discourse on how well their site is working for digital fans/users.  In addition, he was genuinely interested in my ongoing feedback (not posted here) and engaged me one-on-one.

This not only saved me as a customer/reader, it gave Dave direct access to someone who is a power user and will give them honest feedback.  It even got me to write an entire post dedicated to them.  Well done.


Non-Profit Social Media Success – Step 2

So you now have your website revamped.  You’ve redesigned your pages.  You’re putting some rocking content out there. And, it’s easy (and maybe even fun) for your supporters to sign-up, donate, etc.  It’s all good.  Where do you go from here?

Now, with your Social Media foundation poured, it’s time to start laying some bricks.  There are a few basic steps you need to take:  Keep Reading...
Keep Reading…

Non-Profit Social Media Success – Step 1

Web sites themselves are not supposed to be “Social Media” per se.  However, a good website is the absolute lynchpin for your success as a non-profit.

A website, by definition is a one-to-many broadcast.  The non-profit decides what information they would like to share with the world, puts it out there and lays out the welcome mat.  But, it’s not quite that easy.  The ROI from using Social Media (the topic of this series) is directly tied to the quality of your website design, the quality of the content you provide and the ease of use for your signup and donation processes–all things provided through your website.

So, what must your website have to make it a successful foundation for your Social Media campaigns?  Three things:  Keep Reading... Keep Reading…