I joked the other day that MomJovi needed to hire me as her bitch — because she’s just too darn nice. The conversation stemmed from her decision to graciously go through one of those unending phone surveys…
I listened to her say, “I’d give it an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. I’d give that one a 4. I’d say that’s a 6″ and laughed. She just could not bring herself to say “no thanks” and hang up.
Me? I don’t have that problem. Especially when the spammers come my way. I’m not a jerk, but I am firm. I remember that the people calling, tweeting or emailing are most likely hard workers who have a thankless job. But again…I say “no thanks.”
I get what I want.
The one thing I DON’T do? I try very hard not to make social media my first platform for getting customer service.
I see so many people bitching, whining and moaning on Twitter and Facebook — without ever having tried to reach out to the people who could actually solve their problem.
Social media is amazing. But it’s unfair to use it as a lazy person’s way of asking for support. If you’ve ever worked in customer service, you know how painful it is to hear that your website is broken, or that your product isn’t working. You know that being scolded or mocked is not only a professional blow, but often a personal one. And when it’s something that could have been fixed easily, it’s disheartening to see that one tweet can take down your entire business.
I’ve had cause to reach out to several companies through social media recently, but it was never my first step.
Cases in point:
(And yes, I see the irony of working so dang hard to get my order for the product that would eventually make me look like Santa Claus after his trip from the North Pole. And no, they never tweeted or emailed me back. I ended up calling four times to get the order placed.)
I ONLY went to Twitter because I’d not had success resolving my issue on the phone or through a ticket on their websites.
And even then, I didn’t bitch (much), although I did try and convey the urgency of the situation.
If you stuck around this long, you’re probably waiting for me to pay off the title of the post. So:
Get What You Want Without Being a Jerk
1) When you have a problem, make sure it’s not user error.
If you’re using a website, make sure that you check different browsers. Perhaps something works on Chrome, but not Firefox…perhaps you need to clear your cache. Did you forget something simple like a captcha code? Make sure that you are not doing something that has caused the transaction to fail.
(By the way, I learned all of step #1 from the developers I work with at Growing Bolder. Thanks, guys! I’m trying!)
If you have a product, make sure that you’ve read the guides. Did you forget to push a button or perhaps charge something?
2) Try to use the company’s established support resources.
I know it can be frustrating to try and track down a solution, but more often than not, your question is answered in FAQs or forums, and if not, almost every company has some type of ticket system you can use to file your case. Most likely, you’ll have to enter in the information from Step 1 anyway (your browser, your computer type, etc.), so it’s worth trying to get that done first. If you have a problem that needs to be solved ASAP, look for 24/7 phone numbers or online chat help.
3) Be patient!
If a ticket system says it will take 24 to 48 hours to solve, and you can wait…wait. If you can’t, try those emergency phone calls, or use social media to find the right person to talk to. In the first tweet above, WebEx tweeted me within 5 minutes, I had an email within 8 minutes, and the problem was solved over the phone in less than 30 minutes.
4) Ask your followers for help.
If you have tried all of the above and still have not had any luck, ask your Facebook and Twitter friends for help finding a contact. So many of the businesses you are trying to buy from are small, and staffed by people who wear many hats. So if you can find an “in,” you can get your problem solved without trashing the business on social media.
If after ALL of that, you’re still not getting what you need…you can become a mini jerk. A lowercase “j” jerk. (Again, case in point.) Share your problems, what you tried to do to find a solution, and why you can’t support the company anymore. But leave the door open. If that company is smart, it will reach out to you ASAP, apologize and fix the problem.
And if you’ve been a jerk, you’ll feel like one…please, put yourself in the places of the small businesses that are just trying to do the right things. And remember that one tweet can make or break an entire company.
Final note: if you’re still going to be a jerk, be awesome, too. Be equally awesome. Share the good that you see, not just the bad.
Case in point: