Brands are like chameleons. They are your best mates till the time you buy the product and once you have, they won’t even recognize you. If I look back in my past, I have always felt that customer care centers were more of customer harassment centers. Either the representatives don’t have a clue about your problem or the brand wants to keep on fooling you. I am not saying these things in the air but these feelings stem from the incidents I have faced in my life.
I happened to taste the true experience of customer service when after landing in India, the battery of my HP phone knocked off. The next 4 months were spent in calling up different stores, call centers, etc. End result - I get an email that states please drop us an email and we will look into the matter within our working hours. Finally, I bought the battery from grey market. Well this was in 2010 but in 2012 things have changed and it is because for the first time the customer has the power of social media in his hands. Especially for me, a 140-charactered tweet has made all the difference. How? Read on with the next two stories.
Tata Docomo Story:
Last year I shifted my flat to a place where broadband facility was unavailable. So I ended up buying a Tata Docomo 3G. Believe me I was really excited to buy it initially as the service promised to provide a speed of 7.5 mbps speed for the first 10Gb. However, my dreams were shattered as within a month I noticed that I couldn’t even upload pictures to my blog, forget about conducting online video interviews. And then started the long battle of proving to the brand that they are fooling people in the name of 3G. After 2 months of fight, I just gave up as I couldn’t do much. Every time I was asked to pay the bill and later on when they checked at my flat, the brand said, “we can’t do much as your area has a network problem”! So not only did my work suffer, I was also frustrated by the calls to pay the bills that were due. I had one simple answer for all such calls - give me the promised speed and I will pay the bills.
After 4 months, I happened to review Akosha’s social media presence and Ankur Singla informed me that they at Akosha try to help solve brand problems of customers. I scanned through the testimonials of Akosha to find a lot of happy customers. I found hope again. Sanchit Mehta and his team helped me in every step and then the fight started again. But nothing changed, the brand was still not bothered to give my money back despite the pathetic service. But then suddenly one fine day things changed and within 2 days I got a cheque of Rs 2600/- and my bills that were due for a month were waived off.
It all happened in a matter of 2 or 3 days and the credit goes to a tweet that had been sent by Akosha tagging the Tata Docomo brand and also including the big boss Ratan Tata. And within 15 minutes, I got a call from the head office of Tata Docomo, Pune division and within few days everything was sorted. So it was just not 140 characters but the people in the tweet mattered too.
Last month I shifted my flat again and this time I made sure that I moved to a residence where I can get a better Internet connection. Luckily I found one that claimed to have good Internet connection. So before moving in, I called up Airtel and asked for a new connection. Within hours, the sales guy was knocking on my door and within two days the documentation was done. I shifted to my new flat hoping the new connection will happen soon. Alas! For next four days I kept calling and no one was bothered to answer me.
Finally, I raised a complaint and the call center guy told me it would take 3 days to look into my problem. Two and half days passed without any calls and then finally the phone rang. A local technician called me and said that due to some problem I will get Internet setup after two days. So in short I had wasted 10 days without any connection. Above all the most disgusting thing is calling the call center, reason being: 1) you need to explain the full problem every time and 2) they only know one word - “sorry”.
So finally out of frustration, I tweeted tagging Airtel that it takes 10 days to solve a problem and I also added that they need not worry since their competitors are also doing the same. And not to forget I added a hashtag (#brandsiwanttokill) along with the tweet. In comes a prompt reply that please DM your concern. Well, that frustrated me more. I replied saying stop your auto messages. So after two more tweets I started thinking about the other service providers in the area. I had hardly thought for about 5 minutes and my phone started buzzing. I was a bit shocked when the guy at the other end told me that he is calling from Airtel Delhi corporate communication office. I was figuring out what to say but before that the Airtel guy took the situation under control. He took all the responsible parties in conference call - the technical, the back-end guy and some more people who were responsible in Pune. Within 10 minutes, the matter was sorted and I was promised that by tomorrow noon I would be given an update on the same. The Airtel guy called back again after the call and kindly requested me to update my tweet saying Airtel is looking into the matter. Well, who wouldn’t want to say a good word when you see such quick intention to serve? I am surprised as to why brands always wait for the final call.
Moral of the two stories:
- Today it not only matters what you tweet but also who all are addressed to in the tweet.
- 140 characters have the power that brands know very well. Online reputation matters. A very big learning for SME’s who are playing with Twitter.
I believe in the power of 140 characters. They can reach out to millions in no time and create mayhem. So do consider what you tweet before pushing the send button.
Do you have a similar story to share with me?