My first response when I have a customer complaint or question is to go online and direct a tweet to the responsible company with my issue. I have been doing this for quite a few years and it is great to start seeing some real improvement in customer service response via social media. A few years back I followed this approach when my Karen Millen shoes broke and ended up having to find the head of ecommerce’s personal email in order to get a response.
Fortunately since then I have had some amazingly rapid, and appropriate responses from customer services via Twitter, most notable from airline companies British Airways and American Airlines, who both rock their social media customer service. British Airways has always been fantastic at resolving my issues very promptly, professionally and in a friendly way. American Airlines impressed me with their near-time response when I tweeted to complain about the dreadful transatlantic airplane I had just boarded – with no individual video screens but only the shared cabin screens (can you believe they still fly planes like this on transatlantic flights?!!!). I tweeted to them just after boarding and before take-off I had gone through a small conversation, in which they apologied and assured me that new planes were being brought in – and that sadly they couldn’t upgrade me from there. Whilst they did not resolve my issue they were still extremely friendly and professional in how they handled my complaint – reducing my anger in the process.
So naturally when I got totally frustrated with my Swiss UBS credit cards not working online yet again I vented via Twitter. Being a big international, renowned bank I expected some sort of response via Twitter within 24 hours, especially as this is a big enough company to have a dedicated social media team. Being a bank I also presumed they would be wary of leaving negative comments unanswered given some of the anti-banking sentiment that is out there. However after a couple of days I gave up hoping for a response from them. They had simply ignored my tweet, or so I presumed, and I would need to start looking into finding another bank which had credit cards that actually worked online. Needless to say I was disappointed, both as a customer and a social media enthusiast.
However I had a very pleasant surprise today. I received a call from the UBS customer service team in response to my tweet! The call was very courteous, friendly and apologetic and it restored my faith in their overall customer service. During the call I gave the feedback that they need to response quicker via Twitter. They handled the issue so well via the call it is just such a shame that they dropped the ball via Twitter.
The key takeaway for UBS, and indeed any other organisation, is that Twitter is now a major channel for questions and feedback (both positive and negative) and consumers have certain expectations around corporate responsiveness. There is then the second point that responding via Twitter (where possible) is probably also considerably cheaper than via a call centre. In scenarios like this one, where a customer complains via Twitter, the best course of action is a simple “Thank you for your tweet, we will look into this and get back to you shortly”. This buys the company time to formulate an appropriate response (which may be communicated via Twitter or if appropriate via a call centre). At the same time it acknowledges the customer’s comment and shows that the company (and their social media team) is listening. It is a very simple but effective approach and one that any company on Twitter should really have implemented by now.
I do hope that UBS responds to this feedback and improves their customer response directly via Twitter as the guys working in their call centre and great and it is a shame to see them being let down by such a simple slip in communications.