When servicing your customers via social media, respect their preferred channel

 In social business, social media

Last week I chaired the mashup event “The social Customer and Social Loyalty” where we were fortunate to have both Warren Buckley, Managing Director, Customer Services for BT, and Amanda Brown, Head of PR from First Direct presenting.

Both BT and First Direct have been active in social media for customer service for some time, and the words of wisdom offered by Warren and Amanda were timely.

During the session, I  gave the example of how I had become a Vodafone UK advocate as a result of some outreach by the VF crew back in 2009.

I’ve been a strong supporter of Vodafone over the years. I’ve had the same Vodafone UK number from before I moved to the UK from Australia in 2005 and have been a happy post-pay customer for the last 6 years.

Recently I ported over another number to my Vodafone account, and started to receive all sorts of VF UK promotional texts.

I tweeted @vodafoneUK that I wanted these to stop, and was sent the standard “oh dear, please send us the details by clicking this link and including WRT135 in the subject line” tweet.

Look at the @vodafoneUK Tweets and you will see many like this

What Vodafone UK did here is break the chain – they moved me from my preferred channel (Twitter) onto THEIR preferred channel (website/email).

EACH and EVERY time I follow this inane process (fill in the form from the link in the tweet “with WRT135 in the subject line”), the @vodafoneUK people tweet me back saying:

  1. They can’t see my email response and I need to send it again

  2. They can’t “verify me” even though they ask you all sorts of details for the WRT135 email as per below

In order to stop the promotional texts, and after contacting Vodafone I received several phone calls, the last one confirming they were able to “verify me” and that the promotional texts would stop in “7 – 10 days”.

That was back in May.  On Sunday, I received another spammy Vodafone promotional text – presented below.

They are still coming at the rate of 1 every week or so.

I don’t want these texts. Vodafone agreed they would stop in May and they’re still coming in July.

However, I can’t be bothered tweeting @vodafoneUK about this because

  1. I will be sent the standard “click here and add WRT 135 to the subject line” tweet

  2. They will then claim to have not received my message and ask me to send it again

  3. I’ll have to prove who I am even though they call me on the number in their database in response to a tweet from @andrewgrill

  4. The texts will keep coming regardless of what they say (proof in point above)

  5. Vodafone want me to communicate via THEIR preferred channel and not mine.

 

One of the key learnings from Warren Buckley’s talk at the mashup event was that you need to service the customer via the same channel they came in on – not send them off to YOUR preferred channel as Vodafone want to do here.

The last time I had this issue with Vodafone, I ended up using my informal channels and contacting the head of Vodafone customer care directly – who managed to fix the problem.

So Vodafone Twitter team, so as to not look silly, please read this post carefully, then call me to say I’ll never receive another promotional text again – you have my number.

Oh and I assume you have my Twitter name in your CRM against my numbers. You have permission from me to store this detail in your CRM, in fact I demand that you do so I don’t have to go through groundhog day each time I want your spammy texts to stop.

NOTE: if the Vodafone Twitter team are reading this, my terms and conditions have changed for service providers.

You now can no longer request me to fill out a form or send an email from a customer service request initiated on Twitter. Same reasoning I suppose as you deciding it’s ok to put up your prices for business customers by £1 a month while already locked into a fixed term contract. Please tweet me or call me only.

 

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About 

Futurist Keynote Speaker and former IBM Global Managing Partner, Andrew is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption and emerging technologies. He is a multiple TEDx & International Keynote Speaker. Watch his speaking showreel here, enquire about availability & fees here.