Posts tagged ‘Groupon’

July 18, 2012

Great customer service can be delivered through social media, but not by Rogers

Regular www.davidhallsocialmedia.com readers and www.talknowledgy.ca listeners know that I’m very passionate about customer service, especially when it’s delivered through social media. Earlier this year, I had a dreadful experience trying to have an issue resolved by my cable and internet provider, Rogers Communications. In the end, it took a few days of tweeting and a telephone conversation with the VP of Social Media to get things sorted out. You can read all about that experience in this post where I shared 9 ways they could improve their customer care.

Since then, I’ve had two more social media customer service experiences that are great examples of how companies take different approaches to customer service.

1. FTD and Groupon Mother’s Day Mix-up – May 2012

The Problem: I had bought a Groupon the week before Mother’s Day for 50% off at FTD Flowers. When I placed my order, I requested delivery for the Friday before Mother’s Day to allow for any delays that might occur that weekend.  When I spoke with my mother on that Sunday, the flowers had not arrived.

The Resolution: I tweeted FTD at 8:25 a.m. the next day voicing my displeasure with the missed delivery. They got back to me within half an hour, apologized for the issue, assured me they would fix it, and asked for more details. I sent in the details, and by lunch time that day, I recieved the following email:

Dear Mr. Hall,

I have received your concern regarding the non-delivery of your gift, and would like to sincerely apologize that we failed to deliver your arrangement as you had intended. I can only imagine how upset you are, and I have a beautiful arrangement being delivered as an apology on behalf of FTD as well as refunding you in full. You may contact me directly at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email xxxxx@ftdi.com.

 I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Tina xxxxx

Very pleased with this response, I asked if/how I would be refunded for my Groupon purchase. Tina said she had already asked Groupon to refund my purchase, but it may take a few days for both credits to appear on my credit card.

The Aftermath: The next day, my mother received her flowers, and by the end of the week, I received a full refund from both FTD and Groupon. Just to be clear, I was not charged for the flowers that my mother eventually received.

This is how customer service is supposed to work. They seemed genuinely sorry that they messed up, and came through with a completely satisfactory resolution. I didn’t have to fight with them; I didn’t have to explain why this was a problem; I didn’t have to speak with a number of people pleading my case. They showed me that they care about customer satisfaction.

2. Rogers Internet Blackout – July 2012

The Problem: A few Sundays ago, I awoke to a lack of internet service in my house. After doing all the usual hardware and software resets and troubleshooting, I still didn’t have an internet connection. My home network was fine, just no service.

The Resolution: I tweeted @RogersHelps at 9:35 a.m. to get some help with my issue. Over 4 hours later I finally heard back from them asking “how is your internet connection today?” After I explained that my internet was still out, they told me that they’d be happy to look into it.

I thought this was a good, albeit slow, start to getting things resolved. I was then asked to do the standard “unplug and replug” the modem routine again, with no luck. They said the specs looked good from their end, so I’d have to go get a new modem from the store because my modem was broken. It was now around 5:00 p.m. on a Sunday, and I was not interested in making the 25km round trip to the closest Rogers store, so I figured I would go the day without internet service and bring my modem in when I went to work on Monday. But before I called it quits for the night, I asked @RogersHelps to credit my account for the service outage – I thought “If I’m not getting service, I shouldn’t be paying for it.”

This is the point it really started to go sour. I then received 4 direct messages from @RogersHelps explaining why my account would NOT be credited for the service outage.

After tweeting my frustration again, @Rogers_Chris decided to  jump in on the action and tell me what a “great job” the @RogersHelps agent did to help me. At this point, I had had enough. I cc’d Roger’s VP of Social Media in my reply tweet to @Rogers_Chris and turned in for the night. The next day I was contacted by @RogersMary, Senior Manager, Social Media Community, who started by apologizing for the “customer care” I received.

She was great. Friendly, understanding, then escalated my issue to the Office of the President. After playing phone tag with the President’s Office for a few days, they eventually agreed to communicate using email and gave me a month credit for internet service. I thanked them for this “one-time goodwill gesture” (their words, not mine), and explained that all I was looking for in the first place was NOT to be charged for the service outage, and to be treated with a little more care from their “customer care” staff.

Rogers, it just shouldn’t be this hard to satisfy a customer with a simple request. This minor issue didn’t need to go to the Office of the President. This shouldn’t have even gone past the first customer service representative. The original rep should have said “sorry about the service outage, we’re working on it. In the meantime, I’ll be sure to credit your account for any service lost because you shouldn’t have to pay for a service you are not receiving.”  All I wanted was credit for the time the service was out.  And when you make us fight for days to get what we want, it leaves us feeling that we received poor customer service.

The Fix: I wound up troubleshooting the internet outage myself. I powered down and unplugged all of my devices that were connected to the internet, including the modem and router. I then left them offline for a full hour or two. After plugging all the devices back in, and rebooting them, the internet started working…so I didn’t need to drive to the store and get a new modem after all.

January 4, 2012

3.5 social media trends to watch for in 2012

I began 2011 with a post of social media trends to watch for the year. In that post, I spoke about monetization, community buying, geo-tagging, and the rise in the interest of international networks. 2012 is a bit of a different animal, so here it is again for the 12 months ahead of us; 3.5 trends to watch for this year.

1. Better use of the “second screen”. This is the one that excites me the most.  According to Wikipedia, the second screen is  “the electronic device that a television watcher uses to interact with the content they are consuming.” Over 75% of Americans use the internet and watch TV simultaneously.  This means we’re on the couch with our laptops, smartphones, tablets googling actors, tweeting and interacting with personalities, voting on reality TV outcomes, and so on.

The Toronto Blue Jays are one of my favourite examples of using social media to enhance the game experience. I know what you’re thinking: “Why would you need to use social media to make baseball more exciting?” But it’s a great feature of Blue Jays telecasts. Tweeting Tuesdays allows fans at the game, and at home, to connect with broadcasters and other fans, ask questions, answer trivia, and win prizes. Originally (2010), the Jays had only planned on doing this about once a month, but by the end of the 2011 season they were doing this every week. For more on the Blue Jays’ social media efforts, check out their “Social Media Clubhouse“.

The second screen goes further than just using your laptop to interact with and google content. Enter Apple TV and Google TV.  These products are already available and serve to further integrate your TV, online, and smartphone experience. They allow you to access on demand content, are similar to many digital cable offerings, record programs, share with your other devices, etc. Download the Buddy TV app and you can control your entire experience from your smartphone including personalized channel guides, TV time reminders, and recommendations. Are you watching this?! is a great app for the sports fan that helps to keep tabs on your favourite teams and will let you know when other great games are underway. You can then use your smartphone to switch between the games.

2. Continued decline in quality of social deals. In 2011, I predicted that we would see an increase in the number of social deals, but a decrease in the quality of the offerings. This trend will continue in 2012. When community buying started to get big, customers were being offered 70%, 80%, and 90% off quality merchandise, services, and restaurants. Now, things have changed, and will continue to degrade. Example: The Groupon for January 3rd, 2012, was 53% off two singing Justin Beiber toothbrushes. There will still be good deals to be had, you just have to be diligent in finding the worthy ones.

3. Growth in social media measurement tools, but no winner established.  This has been the elephant in in the room of community managers for years. We’ve been able to make due by clustering together a variety of analytics, influence measurement, and link tracking to get a good idea of active audience size and engagement.  Several companies are competing for this space (Radian 6, Klout, PeerIndex, Twitalyzer, Crowdbooster, Sysomos, etc.) Some are free, some cost thousands of dollars a year, but nobody can paint the complete picture. Unfortunately, solving the social media measurement problem won’t come in 2012.

3.5 More IPOs. We saw 19 social media IPOs in 2011, and over 80% of them are trading below their opening price as we start 2012…not a good track-record (more on that story from Mashable). This year will certainly see it’s share of IPOs, perhaps the anticipated Facebook IPO will be the largest in history, but the viability of these properties will continue to be called into question. It’s hard to predict who will to what with whom, but if you do decide to invest, history tells us that you will be losing money. This one only gets 0.5 because the Facebook IPO is an easy one to call, but we also can anticipate others going public this year, including Livingsocial, Dropbox, and Yelp.

September 1, 2011

Seller Beware: What your business needs to know about Social Coupons and Community Buying [Interview]

One of the best take-aways from the Social Capital Conference this summer was the connection I made with Vivian Chang, Owner of BlendCreations.com (contemporary jewelry designers). Vivian had used a series of social coupons to drive business development, and I wanted the dirt. Of course, the main reason she decided to offer a social coupon for BlendCreations.com was to attract new customers, but it turns out that there are some other unexpected results you should think about if you are considering offering a social coupon for your business.

Vivian agreed to a quick interview to dive a little deeper into her social coupon experiment. During our conversation, she touches upon the quality of customer these sites attract, having to honour expired coupons, tips for other businesses considering social coupons, and more. Here are some of the highlights from the interview:

Q1 – What was the perceived benefit, and actual outcome, of offering a social coupon?

The perceived benefit was reaching a large, new customer base in cities where we had never had much exposure. While this was true — we did get an increase in traffic from the targeted cities — the resulting number of sales was disappointing. In hindsight, it’s not surprising because our product is quite niche. Remember, not everyone in the Groupon customer base will be interested in your product.

Q2 – Tell me the worst part about offering a social coupon?

Getting the less-than-ideal customer. This would be someone who is a bargain hunter, who has saved up enough referral money to spend the minimum value on your deal. These people often have no intention of buying again. By using ‘referral money’ (the kickbacks that many social coupon sites give customers for referring others), it further devalues the perceived value of our product.

Q3 – Was there anything unexpected that other business owners should know?

It’s easily overlooked, but in Canada gift certificates cannot expire. So a social coupon is essentially selling a discounted gift certificate — it has a monetary value that the customer has purchased. Once the social coupon has expired, the deal price is no longer valid, but the customer is still entitled to use their coupon for the amount they paid. In other words, if the coupon was $10 for $20 worth of merchandise, once the coupon expires, the customer can still use their coupon for $10 worth of merchandise. In that sense, you still have to deal with honouring expired coupons.

Q4 - Would you do it again?

While our experience was “okay” — we did not lose money in doing social coupons — we have decided not to continue this type of marketing. Part of the reason is that there are just so many social coupon sites out there. The novelty of the social coupon has kind of worn off for the average consumer, so getting your deal noticed in a sea of a dozen or more daily deals is getting harder.

The other reason is the prevalence of the “bargain-hunter” — someone who has no intention of repeat business —which makes it hard to want to do more social coupons since it can be the same bargain-hunters who repeatedly only buy with a steep discount. In many ways, doing more social coupons would result in exposure to an audience who has either already seen us, or is only interested in us as a ‘bargain’ and not as a business they’d otherwise patronize.

Q5 -Would you encourage other small business owners to offer social coupons?

I would encourage other small business owners to go in with their eyes wide open — read the fine print and calculate whether or not there is a good return on investment. Make absolutely sure that selling a large number of social coupons does not actually cost you money. Also know that you are going into a social coupon as a marketing venture and not a way to make money off each sale.

About Blend Creations Contemporary Jewelry Designers

Blend Creations seemed like a fitting name for a contemporary jewelry line when husband & wife team Eric Jean-Louis and Vivian Cheng decided to partner in an artistic business venture. Together, graphic designer Eric, and industrial designer Vivian, combine their divergent design approaches to create a contemporary jewelry line that is clean and modern in aesthetic, yet also blends their respective cultures in East meeting West. Find out more at BlendCreations.com.

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