It was one of those evenings, when we were not in a mood to work. The day had already gone by and the office was half-empty. Thinking what to do, we thought of decorating our office with some quotes. Quotations which were inspirational and motivational.
Amongst the many quotes that we did stick on our workstations, one of them was really inspiringly. It was the one by ‘Steve Jobs’ and it was simple yet very effective.
If a user is having a problem, it’s our problem.
Reading this quote and thinking about it from a service provider’s role, I tried to re-collect incidents where we actually could have been better. Scenarios, where we thought that we had solved a problem, but the customer differed.
The flow of thoughts continued till I switched role/s and stepped into the shoes of a customer.
“When was the last time I faced a problem? Am I facing any problem right now?” I asked myself.
I hadn’t event finished the above question and I quickly recalled the argument that I had with the customer service executive of our internet service provider. Barely a month ago we had taken a new internet connection from Airtel. The traffic demand in our office was quite heavy and to do a load-balancing we had made a request for another pipe to ‘Airtel’.
We were bombarded with different calls from the sales-executives of ‘Airtel’ and all of them were requesting that elusive appointment which would have helped them to convert a lead into actionable sale. In the beginning when got these calls, we thought there could be some mis-understanding. But when, the calls didn’t fail to stop, we realized that it is more than just mis-understanding. It is a fundamental Sales-Process problem, where executives are more focussed towards achieving their sales targets. Whether that also means using other executive’s database is a different story all-together.
Our misery didn’t end here as post installation, we faced common problems of poor internet speed. The worst was yet to come. On a bright sunny afternoon, I got a call from their executive who said, “Is this ABC Consulting?”. Realizing that she had dialled a wrong destination I told her about the same. However, to my surprise I realized that the details of the connection and telephone that were allocated to us were exactly the same.
On digging deeper, we found out the crux of the problem. We were allocated a connection which was already being used by another brand. Whether the company was still using it or not we were not aware of it. However, one thing was for sure we were let down. We were let down badly by a brand for whom we had high regard and trust.
But now everything was broken.
It was not that we hadn’t faced problems in the past with Airtel. It was just that we were aware of their strong support service. We knew that somebody would fix the issue within the blink of an eyelid.
We called up their support executives who promised a quick resolution only to never return. We kept on building a pile of different ticket numbers for the same problems. Realizing the problem, we explored the army of social media tools. The first and the last of them being “Twitter”.
The conversation began with my first tweet.
I then searched for ‘Airtel’ and came across three ids.
In the meantime some well-wishers and some one from ‘Airtel’ had also replied.
I thought a brand like ‘Airtel’ would understand the essence and meaning of Social Media. But through their tweet, they were simply directing me to another email id. I wasn’t so sure as to why they were using ‘Social Media’. If directing users to another email id is the job why didn’t they simply create a twitter profile with one big message which states the email address.
My suspicion was confirmed by their twitter profile
They had event posted a tweet for Blackberry India. Again it was the same message !!
@BB_in Need help with Airtel, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, also follow us for more updates on Airtel, thx
Off-course Blackberry India, never had a problem with Airtel. It was just that they had mentioned ‘Airtel’ in one their tweets. This poor automated program, picked the keyword ‘Airtel’ and was posting the same old message for everyone. It wasn’t human for sure, it was ‘Automated’ and was understandably defeating the whole purpose of conversations through Social Media.
Dear Airtel – Do you know why using are using twitter? Do you know what is ‘Social Media’? Do you know how you can solve the problems of your customers? Above all, do you know what is ‘Customer Service’?