Expediency

Life is always about how valuable our time is. Time is money in some people’s view. Time is life in others. Both views are correct to me. But when an organization tries new methodologies to connect to their consumers to make things faster, they should make every effort to be more responsive.

It’s a defensive game, for sure, but if you want to play, speed is key.

Twitter is a good example. Several companies are trying Twitter-based support for their customers (which I wholeheartedly endorse). However, two recent incidents have got me thinking that they should be allocating their resources elsewhere, because their efforts are in vain currently.

Don’t get me wrong. I WANT these companies there. But we NEED their responses to be faster.

@AskWellsFargo – I sent a basic Tweet asking if anyone was listening, because I had a question. I sent the first Tweet in the afternoon on a weekday, and it took until the next morning to respond. The next morning? I then politely direct messaged them as they requested stating that the issue was resolved by through their (arcane) phone tree.  They said thanks, and glad that it was resolved, and signed it with their initials. No big deal. Slow, but a valiant effort.

But wait.

The next day, the same person (based on their signature initials) actually asked me again to direct message them to see if they could help with the issue. Really? Two days after it happened, and answered by the same person?  Come on people – there are tools available to help you in these situations (see CoTweet for example).

A good effort, but honestly, if you can’t respond quicker, more accurately, and with less annoyance than that, then you shouldn’t be playing the support game via Twitter.

Another incident didn’t happen to me, but I watched it unfold. A friend sent a public message to @TalkToQwest – an experiment for me, and unfortunate outage for my friend. It took them about four hours to respond, again asking for a DM to clarify the problem. Hopefully it was resolved, but our internet went out at home for a few hours and I was not a happy camper, so I feel my friend’s pain.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, @UPS actually responded to me within minutes- while I was waiting for their service center to open. They got me the information I needed and helped solve the problem. That was fairly impressive.

One of the big points behind Twitter is that we learn more in 140 characters than in 140 pages – mainly because we’re still awake by the end. If you can’t put resources behind your social media efforts, then you need to evaluate the purpose of it. Plenty of companies are doing it very well. Usually those companies have good partners in either agencies, or consultants, guiding them through the ever changing waters.

A few of my friends are Community Managers. It’s experiences like these that prove to me the value in such a role, and how it can (and will) change our consumption and customer service future.

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