Social Media is the New Customer Service Help Desk
I am convinced that the way we interact with companies has forever changed due to social media. There are more ways for them to reach us and for customers to interact with their favorite brands. But what about when something goes wrong?
I recently moved apartments and needed to set up internet service. Time Warner Cable is the cheapest option for what I need in this area so I scheduled an appointment online for them to come out and activate my service. I was even able to pick up my modem for free from a local TWC store instead of paying $30 for an install that amounts to plugging a cord into the wall.
Install day comes around and I receive an automated message saying that my service has installed. Hooray! That is until I get home that night and try to connect to the internet…”No Internet Access.” After trying fruitlessly to solve the issue on my end I called it quits and let it sit until the next morning.
When I called the number for TWC it put me through their automated system until I could finally be put on hold to speak with a “Customer Care Representative.” So I waited on hold. And I waited. And I waited some more. The song they were playing changed 5 times and I still waited. Finally I was able to speak to someone. I have to give her credit for being courteous and nice, but she had no idea what to do.
At some point in the conversation she tells me to hang on because she needs to look up something. “Oh good!” I thought, “I was hoping to listen to that hold music again!” But instead of the music, all I got was a click as the rep on the other end of the line hangs up on me…
Now I’m pissed.
Not only have I gotten nowhere in all this time but now I have to call back again and do this entire process all over! But I really need to figure out why my internet isn’t set up so I called back. And I waited on hold for a representative. And I waited.
When I get through to a new representative this time we go through the same process I’ve just done. The only difference is this time he’s accusing me of not setting it up properly on my end and it’ll be a $30 charge if they have to send out a technician to come to my apartment and fix it. At this point I don’t even care that he’s belittling me, I just want my internet to work. He offers to transfer me to technical service instead so that they can walk me through steps to get it working on my end. That’s just fine with me!
The phone transfer goes through and I give the technician on the other end of the line my info so he can look me up. Except that it turns out the lovely Customer Care Rep has transferred me to the Texas Technical Service branch. I live in North Carolina so he can’t help me. He offers to transfer me to the right branch, and I’m just waiting for this nightmare to end at this point. The transfer goes through…right back to the automated system where I started off originally.
I’m not even that mad anymore, I’m just feeling hopeless about the situation. So I did what any good Generation Y kid would do and tweeted at Time Warner.
And miraculously (In 2 minutes!!) I got a response
I sent the account a direct message with my information and got an instantaneous response and more importantly a solution!
A technician arrived the next day, fixed the install error, and now I’m up and running!
What is most important to me though, is the kind of service I received from Time Warner Cable. The phone system was a complete nightmare and an utter waste of my morning. I spent over an hour on the phone with them, was hung up on, incorrectly transferred, and was left thoroughly irritated.
On the other hand, the help I received via Twitter was instant, courteous, and it solved what I needed to get done. That kind of response is exactly what customer service should be like. That experience is what social media allows us to do and it should be the way companies handle service requests.