February 23, 2012
Can’t tell you how many conferences and seminars I’ve attended in the last couple of years where I’ve listened to marketers going on and on about how consumers are using social media to complain; and how important they think it is for their companies to have a social media presence — as if that would solve the problem. As if a page on Facebook, a video on YouTube or tweeting about your latest commercial or product will make your customers and prospects ‘like’ you. As if that would make up for a bad experience.
I know this is heresy, but I’ve got to tell you, as far as I’m concerned the jury is still out on the effectiveness of social media. At least in terms of building brands, creating customer loyalty and attracting new customers. And from my own experience, I’ve yet to see it used properly when it comes to resolving customer complaints and frustrations.
Until this past Tuesday.
But first, the back story. I like reggae and, in particular, Bob Marley’s music. A friend read an article about 2 weeks ago that, as part of Black History Month, the ROM was showing a documentary about Rastas that featured Bob Marley’s granddaughter — and there was also going to be a concert with another of Bob Marley’s relatives — a brother, I think. There are other events as well, but those are the 2 that really appealed to us. The article she read said that details could be found on the ROM website. Because I’m a member I volunteered to get the information.
Suffice to say it wasn’t the best experience: A lack of information on the website, several 5+ minute waits (over several days) to be connected to a human on the phone and volunteers and staff in the museum who were, although extremely polite, uninformed and, therefore, unable to help. So eventually, last Tuesday, I started googling, looking for a Board Member I might know or the Director. Amazingly I not only found the Director’s name, I also found out how to reach her on Twitter.
Limited to 140 characters I had to be pretty succinct. To the point. And compelling. So essentially I said I was having a bad experience and my membership was in jeopardy. Did I expect anything to come of this? I wondered. I hoped. But judging from the experiences of others (not with the ROM) I wouldn’t have bet on it.
Well get ready to be impressed.
- It took mere minutes for her to tweet me back! Equally succinctly she asked me to explain, promising she would do her best to resolve my issues.
- I tweeted back that it was difficult to do that in 140 characters — but I did thank her for her quick response.
- She immediately sent me a message with her email address, again saying she wanted to help if she could (brilliant because until she knew what my problems were promising to do something that she might not be able to do would only have exacerbated the problem).
- I sent her an email that outlined everything that had happened.
- Within 30 minutes I heard back from her. She thanked me for giving them the feedback. She thanked me for giving them a chance to put things right. She told me she was going into several meetings but had forwarded my email to 2 of her senior colleagues — the Head of Membership and Sales and the VP of Visitor Relations. She copied them on the email she sent me so I had their names and email addresses. She told me I’d hear from them. And then she promised to check in with them personally, to make sure they’d received my email and had followed up with me.
To be totally honest by this point I was so impressed, any frustrations I might have had disappeared. She had completely diffused the situation. Here is someone who is not on Twitter because everyone else is. She ‘uses’ it. She obviously monitors the tweets she gets on a very regular basis (and no, I am not suggesting she gets lots of complaints). And she acts. Quickly and decisively. She also listens. And learns. And communicates with people who are communicating with her. Brilliant.
If you’re wondering, I did hear back from the Head of Membership and Sales — not long after I got the email from the Director and CEO of the ROM giving me her name. We had a good conversation. I sent an email letting the Director and CEO know that I had been contacted — and within minutes she acknowledged my email, thanked me again, gave me some information on other events relating to Black History Month they are hosting and said she hoped they could continue to count on my being a member.
You bet they can!
If anybody reading this blog knows the head of a company or the head of Marketing for a company please feel free to send them the link. There is a great lesson here.