Are You Putting In As Much As You’re Taking Out?

The internet’s megaphone is becoming the number one way to indicate brand DISsatisfaction online.

It’s fast, easy, efficient and above all – effective.

This is doubly true if the brand is monitoring their keywords across platforms.

Twitter, especially, has become the darling platform of the disgruntled customer.

Tweets like this are not uncommon:

RT @tpurves: Swearing at brands on twitter really is the new and awesome ‘nuclear option’ for receiving full-on customer support.Fri Jul 23 16:42:17 via Tweetie for Mac

I agree that online soapboxes are effective, but don’t see a lot of give and take in this equation – mostly just take. As evidenced by big brands like Comcast, the problems don’t always get solved, even when you scream into a megaphone about how unhappy you are with the issue, brand or service. This is most often a disconnect between the infrastructure offline and the brand online. Customer service reps can bust their hump for you all day long, but if the brand can’t sustain quality in what you’ve purchased, you are still going to be unhappy. This creates an exponential problem for their brand perception, yes, but it also creates a morale issue for their employees.

I recommend keeping in mind how hard their community managers are working to respond to you online, and how hard the technicians and reps who follow up offline are working to resolve your issue. Even if your problem isn’t fixed, if the company has specific reps that are trying hard on your behalf – say a specific thank you to them by name on the same megaphone where you first complained.

Take Fairpoint. I was having huge issues with their FIOS service being slow, their web site being atrocious to navigate (and liking IE6-7 best – who designs for that anymore??) and their hold times being excessive as it when I sent this tweet:

Going to have to carve out time to call @myfairpoint again this week. At $90/mo for FIOS this all crash/all lag thing is making me Not HappyMon Jul 12 13:06:33 via Seesmic

But I made sure to send an immediate thank you to their in-person tech, and one to their online reps, because they are working hard to solve my problem – it’s not their fault Fairpoint is ill equipped to handle FIOS in this region, or that Verizon left them holding the bag on some terrible infrastructure.

Woot! RT @leslie: Woot! Super nice Glen from @myfairpoint has me all fixed. Problem was PS3/router set up. Happy to be back at full speed.Fri Jul 16 15:13:37 via HootSuite

Solving that simple problem made my life easier, plain and simple. Is the overall issue completely fixed? Not really, but they are continuing to work on it for me, and I appreciate that. Other companies I’ve had good results from, and loudly thanked for it, online include Verizon Wireless, HTC, Comcast and PSNH.

What other ways can you give back as much as you take, and help someone do their job better and happier in the process?

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