I'm taking over Bartlby's Blog today, which I normally don't do, to share an experience I had last week that I think we can all learn from. As many of you may know I have a Twitter account (you can follow me @bartlesandassoc) that I have an unhealthy, co-dependt relationship with. I love Twitter because it is an innovative medium to hold conversations that businesses can utilize to give their brand a personality and to start to create that all important relationship with consumers that is so vital in marketing today but it can be a bit of information overload (for me at least).
So to give you a little background, for the past year and and half I have been trying to work with a mortgage company (who will remain nameless to protect the innocent) to try and take advantage of this low interest rate market. I'm a business person, what do you expect? Every single time I call the company I get the same snarky, why did you call me, answer, "You have to send in your information again and call every week to check the status. I'll make a note in your file." And then I call a week later and get yet another person who can't even put together a proper sentence who asks me all kinds of personal questions only to tell me they have no note that I called last week and to fax in my information AGAIN and check back in a week. So at this point every person in the company has my social security number because I have to keep giving it to them over the phone and then faxing it in with my information AND I have lost an hour of my life that I can't get back which I could have been using to make money to, you guessed it, pay the mortgage. Needless to say, my customer service experience has been terrible!
This last time I had had enough so I took to my Twitter account (because I was in one of my love moods with it that day) and posted, "I want 2 know why (company) takes forever & never gets anything done & I have 2 go through the process all over yet again." Followed a few minutes later by, "So aggrevated with (company), going to the pool for a few hours to get over it. See you guys on the flip side." Within about an hour a representative from the company tweets me back about how they are sorry for my aggravation with the company and to DM them with my concerns and questions. So in 140 characters (part of the hate end in my love/hate relationship) I tweet them my issue and they are now working on my case. It still remains to be seen if I will get any help, but there is a very valuable lesson to be learned here. All consumers now have a loud voice and they WILL use it.
For businesses it is extremely important that you monitor the conversations that are happening on social media about your brand and company. And whether or not you choose to participate in the conversation is up to you, but you need to monitor them because if you're like me you can't afford negative conversations happening about your company. Also, it allows you to spot good and bad opportunities that you can build on. The company I'm dealing with is going through a particularly hard merger right now and CANNOT afford to have bad PR floating around on the interwebs about how their customer service is terrible. Can you afford that kind of bad PR? I know I can't.