A great start to social media customer service by Ryobi Power Tools

ryobiIf you’ve ever walked into Home Depot, you’ve probably seen the name Ryobi more than a few times. It’s their in-house line of power tools and accessories. Over the years, I’ve found myself buying a few of their products including drills, saws, sanders, even weed whackers. This summer, one of my garage projects was to refinish two dressers. Of course the first step in the process is to remove the existing finish. Enter the Ryobi Orbital Sander (P410). Things were going along well, until the sander decided to stop cold. I tried to get it going again without any luck. Turns out, the place where the battery connects to the unit had broken, and I needed a new switch assembly. I thought “no problem, I’ll just order a new one from their website and finish the project next weekend.” The part itself was about $11, but the shipping to Canada was $35, leaving me with a bill of nearly $50 to repair a $40 sander.

I quickly sent an email off to the company to see if there was anything we could do to lower the shipping costs (I eventually received a very unhelpful response from the email team). At the same time, I called Official Ryobi Service Centres from Ottawa to Toronto to see if they had the part in stock. I was told several times that the part was on back order and it would be at least a two-week wait.

Seemingly stuck in my situation, I thought I’d reach out to their social media team to see if they could help me. After a few friendly twitter and email exchanges with Brian at Ryobi, it took less than a half-an-hour from my initial tweet to resolving the issue (a replacement sander is on the way courtesy of Ryobi). Here’s how it looked on Twitter:

Through my conversation with Brian, I learned that using Twitter for customer service is rather new for Ryobi (their account was created just about a month ago), but they are definitely doing it the right way. Three key elements of social media customer service  that I think Ryobi did particularly well are:

1. Fast response to the initial issue (they had replied to my first tweet in under 10 minutes). A company doesn’t have to fix all of the problems within the first 10 minutes, but a the quick acknowledgement of the issue goes a long way.

2. Friendly service. It pays to be pleasant. I’ve encountered CSRs at other companies who either blame the customer for the issue, or simply refer the customer to a website to learn more about their “policies”. Ryobi was fast, to the point, helpful, and polite.

3. Actually resolving the situation. It appears that Ryobi has empowered its social media team to resolve issues and solve problems. I did not have to be “transferred to another department” or “speak with a supervisor” to get things done. I had a problem, Ryobi fixed it. Simple as that.

Good job, Ryobi.

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3 Responses to “A great start to social media customer service by Ryobi Power Tools”

  1. Thanks for the inspiration and leg up, David. Reading this I thought of an unresolved aggravation I should apply the a social media solution for. I did and, voilà, resolved within the hour in 15 minutes on the phone. I had an intractable issue of 18 months, dozens of hours on the phone w/ up to 5 way calling w/ layers of management from two banks blaming each other for the (till today) missing funds transfer from Feb 2012. Both banks (@BofA_Help & @ChaseSupport) responded immediately. The first one called me on the phone in a few minutes after I DM’d my number and took care of the matter. The funds were in my account within an hour after 18 mos of frustration and finally walking away from it. I had a similar happy experience and immediate response with the intrepid André Marin’s office (@Ont_Ombudsman) on a request by the PM of Uganda, @AmamaMbabazi. I’m blogging these experiences and will keep you in the loop.

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