One of my biggest frustrations when contacting a customer support is how much of a time-waster it is on my part. In most cases when you call a customer support line you get a recording. In my experience many times the first thing the recording says is something like "For English, press 1." First, I am in America. Why do I need to press 1 for English? Then, the recording often gives you options for this or that, but none of them get you talking to a REAL person. How many times do those automated recordings and options actually fix what you called for in the first place? I have spent many phone calls going through loop after loop with those recordings before I can finally get someone on the phone. By that point it isn't in mine or the customer support's best interest for them to be talking to me because I am already extremely frustrated with their stupid recordings. Just let me talk to a real person in the first place - that is why I called!
Half the time it seems impossible to even find a phone number to call in the first place. I have spent so much time before navigating the company's website trying to find a phone number or email to even contact them. Yeah, that's really good customer service...
I have found time and time again that one of the best ways to contact the company is through their social networks, specifically Twitter. I don't have to take the time to find a phone number or email. I don't have to sit on the phone wasting my time going from one recording to the other and I have found that companies' social media avenues return the fastest responses.
Why is this? Here are my opinions why social media like Twitter are some of the best and fastest ways to get a response from the company.
- Many companies have a social media team (size of the team may depend on the size of the company). Companies have employees that spend their whole day monitoring social media websites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what people are saying about their company. Every time someone tweets about their company using their hashtag (example - #samsung or #google) or their username (example - @nytimes or @windows) the company's social media team can see what you are saying about them. These teams' whole role in the company is to monitor and respond to what people are saying about their company.
- Social media is both a good thing and a bad thing for companies. It is a good thing because if I really like the company and am super satisfied with their product, I am going to rave about how good they are on social media. All of my friends or followers will see this and be a promoter (aka - free advertising for the company). However, if I do not like the company, product or service I am going to complain about them on my social networks and all of my friends and followers are going to see that. Negative press is always bad for a company - no matter how many friends or followers you have. Even if I may only have several hundred followers on Twitter, one of my followers may have anywhere from thousands to millions of followers. That follower may see my post and retweet it. Anything on social media can go viral VERY fast, so companies want to make sure whatever is posted about them on social media is seen and attended to.
- Responding to a tweet on Twitter is much faster than talking to someone on the phone. You can only be talking to one person on the phone at a time, whereas someone working on a company's social media team can be responding to multiple tweets, Facebook posts, etc. in the same amount of time they could have a conversation with one person on the phone. (I realize that a tweet doesn't always fix the problem either, but it at least gets the company noticing you and your voice heard fast.) I have even had companies reply to my tweets and apologize for the "inconvenience" and provide me with an email address to respond to them. Many times that email address isn't publicly listed on their website.
What brought up the topic for this post? This morning while I boarded Trax (Utah's light rail train system) heading up to the university I felt like one of many sardines. I board the train at 5300 South, next to the big hospital. Usually there are plenty of seats or standing space in the trains. However, ever since school started again a week ago the trains have been so packed and uncomfortable! This morning was especially bad. So I took a photo of how packed the train was and I posted it on Twitter, tagging UTA so they could see how bad it was.