I love social media. It gives customers a voice and platforms for the world to see. Social Media can also provide lots of business and life lessons.
Let’s take Sears for example. Long story short, I’m having problems with a recent purchase. I purchased online and chose to pick up in store (BOPUS is the industry term). What was promised in 3 days, took 9 days for me to receive. The item weighs 150 lbs and requires keys. Upon picking up the item, bringing it home and opening it, I discovered there were no keys and no instruction manual. So, it’s a defective product. That happens.
So I call the 1-800 number provided on the packing slip / receipt. When I choose operator, the automated system disconnects me. I try a second time with the same results. My next step is to go online (www.sears.com) and search for another customer service number. I dial it. The representative does not understand BOPUS and insists that UPS must have damaged the product. She says she will send UPS out to pick up the item, but that could take a week. Then she puts me on hold.
After 5 minutes of hold time, I put my phone on speaker mode while I listen to some incredibly obnoxious muzac and I begin tweet to @Sears. My goal was 1 tweet for every minute on hold. After 30 minutes, I gave up and hung up. In the meantime, people from companies such as 7-11, US Airways, Dell, and Zappos chimed in on the conversation as well as an up-and-coming musician with a large social media presence. It was nice to engage with people during the process. I felt it was a sign of solidarity as I was getting bashed by a giant corporation.
After a 20 minute break, I call back a second time and spend another 30 minutes on the phone with a much nicer representative who was very sympathetic. Kudos to her. However, the issue was not resolved. Her first solution? I will call the warehouse and have them ship you the keys. Really? How many different types of keys does Honeywell (the manufacture of the product) make for this product? Even if you found the keys, how long would it take and can you ensure that they are the right keys? The answer of course is “I don’t know and no.” This go around I post on Facebook as well.
This morning I get a response on Facebook long before i get a response on Twitter. (I have attached that message.) My interpretation = please stop posting and no focus on resolving the issue. Other friends start joining the conversation on Facebook as well. As for Twitter, it took Sears over 13 hours to respond and it came from a terrible Twitter handle: @Searscare, which I don’t think was branded properly as it looks like @SearS-C-A-R-E-S to me.
Nonetheless, the problem isn’t resolved, but I’m having fun in the social media spaces at Sears’ expense. The problem still isn’t resolved, but Sears has finally given me a Case Number. However, the caveat in their communications with me is that 1) Case Managers are super busy, 2) they will prioritize responses, and 3) I should expect a response (not a resolution) within 24 hours. Wow! Is there a better way to tell a customer he or she is not valued or appreciated? :) Probably not.
So here’s a very polite response on the Sears Facebook wall, where I was asked not to post again. Enjoy!
Here’s some free #socialmedia and #customerservice advice:
1. Please do not ask me to stop posting until AFTER you have resolve the issue or gotten it start. Please do not begin the conversation with “Stop Posting”
2. Do not ignore #Twitter. If YOUR customers are using a social media channel, then YOU should be engaging on that channel too. 13+ hours AFTER I began reaching out to you for help is when I finally received a response. And that response, was “Stop Posting here and go to FB.” Yet on FB you also told me to stop posting? Why? You have a customer in distress and you’re telling me to go away.
3. You should consider changing your Twitter handle. @Sears is okay, but @Searscare looks like @SearSCARES. Not well branded.
4. If my friends and other social media influencers are commenting on my posts, do not try to intimidate them. This is an #opportunity for YOU to #engage them. Trenton Laird provided you with an excellent case study and coaching. Heather Vanderwaal also reached out to you. Show some warmth. Show some compassion. It’s #customerservice 101 – the basics. And be careful how you address people. There are lots of influencers in the social spaces and you do not know their reach. Perhaps looking at people’s #Klout scores ahead of time will tell you how to prioritize.
5. Research / Read / Share social media case studies among your staff. Continual #training is what will make you better. #Dell / @Dell is a great example. I know you have reached out to them in the past, but chose not to leverage their free social media command center tours. It would be eye-opening for you. #Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) (@spg) is also a great example. They have always provide fantastic customer media support and resolved any issues I’ve had immediately — making me a much for loyal customer. Loyal customers = more money for you.
[also attached is a copy of the Sears Motto]