For the pas t few weeks I’ve been having problems with my high-speed Internet connection. When you phone service and Internet service are provided via a modem and your phone service goes kaput while you are participating on a radio show via the telephone, you get concerned about not only next weekend’s show but about your ability to research online or blog without disastrous interruptions.
So I called my broadband provider and set up a technician visit. They are usually prompt (I know. Surprising based on other consumer complaints about broadband companies) so I had no worries about them showing up … no worries until it got down to five minutes left on the clock and no technician in sight.
I called them to find out what the problem was. In the mean time I also did something I’ve never done before: I tweeted my disgust. Yes, I joined the growing number of customers who used social media to express their dismay at poor customer service and was surprised by the response I got.
The first surprise was who tweeted back first. Dish Network, a competitor of my broadband provider, tweeted me within five minutes of my original tweet. They let me know, in 140 characters, how inept my carrier was and that I should switch to them. Not only was I surprised by their speed but by their boldness; that they would make an all out attempt to pick off another customer from my provider was exciting.
In cyberspace, someone can hear you scream.
The other surprise was the late response from my provider. While the tech did show up 25 minutes late but to his credit was able to identify the problem and provide a resolution that would minimize future recurrences, (Throwing in free Showtime and HBO for six months was pretty cool, too.), what stood out as awkward was my provider tweeting me a response two hours after their competitor did. That was damned dumb.
My take away from yesterday’s customer service debacle was one, if broadband providers want to sell the Federal Communications Commission on the importance and benefits to consumers of a transition to Internet protocol services, how they react to dropping the ball on the routine of tech visits has to be a priority.
Second, no matter what type of business, competitors are watching and ready to pounce and this may benefit consumers. Writing for SproutInsights, Jennifer Beese found that more top brands are using social media, specifically Twitter, to maintain customer service contact. Thirty percent of companies in the Interbrand 100 maintain there own customer care Twitter handles.
While customer care on Twitter may not be enough to draw a non-broadband user into the IP domain, the use of a fast method of connecting to your business customer service is becoming prevalent and a compliment to existing customer service platforms.