About to start a fun side project with a couple of my weight training partners. Stay tuned to the above page for updates as I prep for my first powerlifting meet!
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.
[pullquote cite=””]A foot warmer, a heated seat that automatically goes up and down, a built-in music system, a Bluetooth receiver for users to stream audio from their mobile devices, an SD card to access custom playlists or personalized welcome messages, a USB port for software updates, and ambient lighting that features seven different colors to choose from.”[/pullquote]
All of these specifications sound like the list of accessories you’d expect to find in the latest and greatest luxury car about to burst upon the automotive scene.
But it’s not. It’s a…toilet?
It’s hard to believe but these features are everything that comes with the most recent innovation from Kohler- The Numi Toilet.
Priced at a measly $6,390, you too can enjoy the luxury of a toilet the will greet you with a personalized message, glow whatever color you like, and play you a victory song as the built-in bidet washes you clean.
To me, the Numi raises several questions in my mind. In a world where technology is becoming native to everything we do and embedded in everything we touch, are there some areas where certain technology should never exist? Like the toilet?
Will we ever reach a point in time where it is commonplace for your toilet to need monthly updates? More importantly, is your bathroom experience truly enhanced by ambient lights and custom playlists streaming from beneath you? And really, what are the consequences of having built-in slots for USB and SD cards in a toilet?
So will the Numi set the standard for commode culture or is it a just an over-priced gimmick?
A couple of weeks ago I decided to check out Fancy. I had gotten a free $15 code to use on the site so I thought I’d see what it was all about.
“What is Fancy?” you ask? Well Fancy describes itself in the following way: [pullquote cite=”www.thefancy.com”]
Fancy is the place to discover, collect and buy from a crowd-curated catalog of amazing goods, wonderful places and great stores.
Part store, magazine and wish list, Fancy is the best place to buy great things.
Similar to how Pinterest operates as a social photo sharing website, the ultimate objective is to find objects that you would be interested in purchasing. The website takes the items you “fancy’d” and shows you more based on that taste preference.
My first foray into Fancy left me with one overwhelming conclusion: “Fancy” means expensive.
But as I delved deeper into Fancy I found that the expensive tastes are not all there is to the site. There is in fact a wide range of low to medium priced products that are very interesting and unique. But what really drew my attention was the Fancy Box. [frame_right]http://cf1.thingd.com/default/190403263978277559_91ebbf2d0461.jpg[/frame_right]
The Fancy Box is a monthly subscription service featuring a collection of some of the most fancy’d items, curated by the fancy community. Each box includes $80.00+ of products in the categories of your choice. And it only costs $39.
So I decided to take the plunge and ordered the Fancy box. Here’s what came in the box this month!
So here’s the breakdown for how I came out ahead financially with the Fancy Box:
- Nanda Home Clocky Runaway Alarm Clock: $39
- Kikkerland Head Massager: $15
- Pilot and Captain JFK New York T-Shirt: $38
- Music Branch Headphone Splitter: $15
- “Stuff Every Man Should Know” by Brett Cohen: $15
Total value of my Fancy Box: $122. I paid $24 for it plus the $15 gift card!
Given, a lot of these things are really random items. Do I need a clock that rolls away on wheels when it goes off so I have to chase it down to turn it off? No, but it’s pretty cool all the same.
For me opening the Fancy Box was like having an early Christmas present. I had no idea what to expect from it, but it definitely invokes that childlike glee of opening a gift when it arrived. If you’ve got a couple of dollars to spare this month, I’d highly suggest trying out the Fancy Box!
[fancy_box]This is the third post in my series “Twist, Lick, Dunk: The Oreo Experience.” In this series I plan to explore the ways that Oreo (both the brand and product) is captivating consumers.[/fancy_box]
For my final post in this series on Oreo I wanted to touch on the social media presence of Oreo. Oreo has a massive following on Facebook, but I believe the work that its social media agency 360i is doing on Twitter is truly incredible. 360i has been creating several daily images that relate to current events and major topics of conversation.
In fact, their quick work during the Super Bowl produced the famous “Dunk in the Dark” image that was, “shared on Twitter and Facebook more than 20,000 times and garnered 430 million earned media impressions- that’s 4x the number of people who tuned in to watch the game. Wired magazine declared Oreo as the Super Bowl winner, and Adweek even ranked the tweet as one of the top five ‘ads’ of the night.”
As I’ve talked about in my previous posts, Oreo is dominating its market. So why are they putting out so much creative material?
The answer is that 360i is creating a brand personality and is bringing it to life via social media. Simply put, they have found a way to express the brand’s characteristics and values in a conversational way. By continuously releasing humorous and creative media, Oreo has associated itself with playfulness and witty commentary.
To read more on how Oreo is playing out its brand personality you can check out these excellent articles:
- From the 360i blog about their back and forth with AMC theaters: Corporate Twitter Wars
- Great article from AdAge about the latest Twitter war between Oreo and Kit-Kat: Tic-Tac-Toe