Archive for ‘Customer Relations’

September 18, 2013

Social media customer service from Rogers Communications still needs improvement, but it’s moving in the right directon

I write about it all the time – Using social media to provide customer service. I write about the good experiences I’ve had, and I write about the bad ones. It seems like one company always winds up falling short on this task – Rogers Communications. Yes, I know I’m not the only person in Canada who has had a run-in with this telecommunications Goliath, but I’m always optimistic they can turn things around so I keep trying.

My latest request for customer service from Rogers was to increase my bandwidth. The entire Twitter interaction with the Rogers CSR I was dealing with, know as “^eb” was great. He answered my questions, looked into issues when I needed more information, offered me a “fair” deal based on how I wanted to increase my service, and was generally pleasant. Once we agreed to the new terms of my internet service, I was getting ready to write a glowing davidhallsocialmedia.com blog post about how Rogers had finally improved their online customer service. There was just one more hurdle to clear – making sure what they promised me was actually reflected on my bill.

This is where things went sour. I was expecting to see the charges for the new service as promised at a price of $41.60+tx. This was to cover increased upload and download speed, 300GB of bandwidth, and a the cost of a modem rental (tweets below). Instead, I was surprised to see that my bill was almost twice that price at $82.58+tx.

Here’s how it went down:

RogersOffer2

RogersPrice

I thought “Great! Sounds like a deal. I get increased bandwidth, upload and download speeds, AND a modem rental for $41.60+tx per month. Excellent job Rogers”. So, after discussing the change with my wife over the weekend,  I accepted the deal and asked if I could get my new modem that night.

AgreeToDeal

SurveyRequest

At this point, I was happy to fill out the survey with a great review for their customer service, but since I have had issues in the past, I thought it would be prudent to make sure my bill looked OK before I gave them an A+.

WaitingForBill

…and the CSR totally understood that:

UnderstandingofSurvey

Then the bill came. It certainly wasn’t $41.60+tx for my internet service as promised:

RogersBill2013

Even without any of the partial charges, which are only a one-time thing, the price for the new service listed under “Regular charges”) comes out to $66.39+tx NOT the $41.60+tx as promised. That’s an overcharge of almost $25 per month (or about $300 per year).

I tweeted Rogers to ask them to remedy the issue. After a few hours of waiting, they said that I was misquoted and it should be $45+tx each month. Fine, but why was I charged $20 more than that on my first bill? According to the a new CSR there was a “system error” which caused the overcharge and I would be credited the difference on my next bill. So it looks like I have to wait another month to see if I actually get the deal I was promised and be able to accurately fill out their customer feedback survey.

I’ll keep you posted.

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August 8, 2013

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.

January 31, 2013

The ONLY Super Bowl social media account you need to follow

This Sunday. 6:30 p.m. EST. Finally. For the first time since January 29, 1995, my San Francisco 49ers have made it to the Super Bowl. This is a big deal to me because the sports teams I root for typically don’t make it to the final game (Toronto Maple Leafs last Stanley Cup – 1967) ( Toronto Blue Jays last World Series 1993).

But when any of these teams were last at the big dance, social media was nowhere to be found…it just didn’t exist. Now the non-stop flow of photos, tweets, taunting, scandal, and general nonsense is almost nauseating. ESPN posted an inforgraphic about who to follow on Twitter; Hootsuite has a dashboard where you can track what quarterback has the most tweets, day-by-day; and at last check, social media mega-blog “Mashable” has 144 recent stories tagged “Super Bowl”. It can all be a bit overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, the enjoyment of these global events is enhanced by social media. I love being able to connect with fellow sports fans and chat about game. My favourite fan to connect with is the one who is actually there. Enter the Twitter account from the New Orleans Host Committee. If you are looking for one social media touch point for the big game, this is it. The @nolasuperbowl account is entirely focused on fan (user) experience, and they sure are responsive. Powered by a team of over 100 volunteers they field questions, suggest places to eat, share interesting stories about the game, promote their activities (#NFLexperience), and share photos from the festivities.

A few examples:

I’ll definitely be watching the @nolasuperbowl along with the game this weekend with a big thanks to all the volunteers that make it happen. The video below provides a decent idea about what it’s like to be inside the command centre during Super Bowl Week. It’s a recap from last year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis, but it does a good job explaining what they are looking for, how they find it, and how the team of social media volunteers go about responding.

Well, I guess there’s only one thing left to say: #Go49ers #QuestForSix

UPDATE (01.31.13): As a further comment to their responsiveness, after I initially shared this post on Twitter, the @nolasuperbowl account was quick to RT. In fact, they were the first to do so.

December 12, 2012

Social Media trends in 2012 by the numbers [Stats]

WhereWeConnect2012For those of us watching social media usage trends, last week was a good week as Nielsen published its annual State of the Media: Social Media Report. This document is a must read. It compares the 2011 and 2012 statistics about how we use our devices and social networks. Some of the findings seemed to be obvious. For example, each year, more people are connecting to the internet, and when they do, they spend more time on it. We already knew that.

Other findings, however, were much more intriguing: notably, the continued growth in the amount of users interacting with their social networking accounts using mobile web and mobile applications. People are slowly straying away from their PCs as the Nielson report shows that the use of both mobile web and mobile apps nearly doubled when compared to the 2011 figures:

SocialGoingMobile

I’ve written about the continued growth of the “second-screen” before, and the numbers from this report seem to support that trend. Personally, I always watch TV with my laptop or smartphone, and it looks like this behaviour is becoming more common-place. The Nielson report found that 41% of tablet owners and 38% of smartphone owners use their device daily while watching TV, and they are using this internet access to add to their TV watching experience. For example, viewers use their devices to look up product information after they’ve seen an advertisement, search for coupons or deals, look up information related to the program being watched, and (of course) use social media while watching the show. Twitter emerged as the social network of choice when interacting with TV shows – About 1/3 of active Twitter users tweet about the TV show they are watching.

SecondScreen2012

Another finding in this report that is close to my heart is that 47% of social media users engage companies to get customer service from brands with which they do business. About 30% of them (including myself) even prefer getting customer care using social media. This drives home the point that as each year passes, it becomes more and more imperative for companies to take a pro-active role in managing their reputation online.

SocialCare2012

Plenty more findings are available in this report, and it’s well worth the read, so be sure to check it out.  Special thanks to colleague @DanPihlainen for originally sharing this document.

September 5, 2012

Social Media ROI for Higher Education [Stats]

This week marks the return to classes for many students here in Canada and around the world. It’s great to see the kids skipping off to class, the school buses making their rounds, and freshmen on college campuses moving into residence, eager for new experiences. It’s also a great time for colleges and universities to connect with their students and make them feel a part of the community and, at the same time, to lay the foundation to recruit the next round of students.

I’ve worked at a post secondary institution for nearly 7 years (6 of those in the Marketing and Communications department). As the leader of our social media planning and execution strategy, I often had conversations about the return on investment (ROI) of social media. We batted around questions like: “Isn’t social media just something else to add to my to do list?”, “Why spend thousands on outdoor bus advertising when digital marketing is easier to track and less expensive?”, “How can other departments of the school take advantage of social media”, and of course “What is the ROI of social media?”

The last question bugged me the most. Maybe because it’s hard to answer, maybe because it’s the go-to question for social media non-believers, and maybe because the same people who are asking us to put a dollar figure on social media couldn’t identify the ROI with any of the other communications tools in their office. I would think, “What’s the ROI on that pen set on your desk?”, or “Explain to me the ROI of giving every employee a laptop,” or “what’s the ROI on company-specific email addresses?”

But ROI is important, and we should try to establish some benchmarks to measure our successes and failures. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research agrees, and has been watching social media usage trends at US colleges and universities since 2007. In their latest study (2011-12), their research shows that social media cuts costs for the Recruitment/Admissions Office.  Consequently, many schools are planning to increase investments in social media initiatives as a way to better reach their target audience.  Their news release highlights the following key findings:

  • Traditional media is becoming less important/used. Schools report spending 33% less on printing, 24% less on newspaper ads and 17% less on radio and TV ads. One third of schools say social media is more efficient than traditional media in reaching their target audience.
  • 92% of undergraduate admissions officers agree that social media is worth the investment they make in it and 86% plan to increase their investment in social media in the next year.
  • The most useful tools for recruiting undergraduates include Facebook (94%), YouTube (81%), Twitter (69%) and Downloadable Mobile Apps (51%).
  • Less than half of those surveyed have a written social media policy for their school.  In the 2009-10 academic year, 32% had a policy. That number increased to 44% in 2010-11, and stands at 49% in 2011-12.
  • 29% of the schools surveyed report having NO social media plan in place for their Admission Office, and an additional 15% report not knowing if there is a social media plan in place.
  • 78% of schools say that social media tools have changed the way they recruit.
  • Umass has created a rudimentary infographic with more details if you’re interested in learning more about this study.

Although these findings provide a good look at where colleges and universities stand on the marketing side of social media, there’s still work to be done to get a better picture of the post-secondary industry’s use of social media. I’d like to see further studies that focus on social media use and how it affects: student retention, customer service, campus life, and learning inside (and outside) the classroom.

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.

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