Dear The Drum readers,
It has been sometime that I posted an opinion piece here, but I feel compelled to outline this case study. I also feel that the topic would benefit from the input of other marketing professionals.
It's approaching three years since Twitter hit the mainstream with a bang and was adopted by brands far and wide. The role Twitter played in the recovery and rescue efforts of Hurricane Sandy's aftermath is a massive example of how this technology has proven itself as one of the best means of communication in the world.
Different brands have different needs of where this social network fits into their business model. Some use it as a Marketing channel, others a PR tool. However, all should recognise it as a customer service forum that has to be treated with respect and sensitivity.
I would be fascinated to hear your thoughts on how this company have used Twitter in reaction to a complaint.
I've presented my experience in the form of an open letter.
Last week I had an overwhelming experience with you. Little over six weeks ago, colleagues kindly purchased me a subscription for my favourite mag as a birthday gift.
After five weeks of not receiving anything, I emailed your customer support address (that was provided with the order confirmation). I received a bounce back email from a different company's email address, with a third different domain stated in the 'from' field. Not a great user journey, right....?
Five more days passed, prompting me to resend the email. Alas, days passed but I received no response.
I decided to make my protest in the place that a digitally savvy twenty-something knows they can be heard -Twitter - thus warning my friends and following to avoid making any subscriptions with your company, because you might not receive it as promised!
"Don't buy a magazine subscription through @iSubscribeUK. You won't receive it!"
My colleague who organised this gift proceeded to call your helpline, who were very helpful and all appeared to be resolved.... Or did it?
Later that afternoon, I was horrified to discover that you deemed my grievance worthy of reporting to the Managing Director of my workplace. As my job title / employer is listed in my bio like many Twitter users, this is to effectively network with like-minded people - not a direction for who my tweets should be held accountable for.
What were you trying to achieve by doing this? Were you hoping that my employer would punish me? Is this your protocol in dealing with customer complaints?
I am very keen to hear back from you,
Personally, I think iSubscribe should be ashamed with this instance. They must revisit their social media strategy and document how complaints should be handled. I'm sure reporting disgruntled customers to their employer is not what they considered best practise.
Naturally, I am considering an element of bias in my opinion which is why I decided to document the above event. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how this was handled and what your experiences have been when using Twitter to complain to brands.