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Tip for Tuesday – Be Careful with Customer Service

I’m back with another tip for Tuesday!

Today’s tip is brought to you by a rather frustrating customer service experience I’m having, which is further impacted by social media.

The ILN normally gives a small gift to our delegates when they’re attending a conference, as a memento of the city that they’re visiting (we like to give them the warm fuzzies about our group!).  This morning, I’m attempting to order this memento for our next conference, and ran into the snag that they only allow you to order 15 of them.

It happens, so it’s not a big deal.

But here’s where it gets frustrating.  I first try to submit my request for assistance via their website. And I get an error telling me that the “page cannot be found.” Okay…so did my request go through or not? I’m not sure.

I next try to call them, but when I choose the option for customer service, I get an answering machine telling me that no one can help me right now.  They’re in New York, and it’s the middle of the work day, so what’s that about?

I look again at their home page for additional options, and I see this:

“Excellent!” I think – social media is a great way to keep up with your customer base.

I first check Twitter.  Their last update to Twitter was in July. That’s four months ago, which leads me to believe that they don’t ever check their Twitter account.  So I’m not going to bother to tweet them.

I check Facebook, which is more recent – their last post is from Saturday – but I don’t exactly want to post my concerns (and contact information!) on their main Facebook page for all of their fans to see.

I also checked their blog – not that I’d leave a message about an order there, but just for curiosity’s sake – and their last entry was in November….of 2010.

This makes me wonder a few things – a) how concerned are they with their business? Is it even a full time job? b) will they be able to handle my slightly larger order? and c) do they care at ALL about their customers?

So here’s my Tip for Tuesday – if you’re going to be highlighting your social media efforts on your firm’s website, you must (MUST) keep them up to date.  It would be better not to have them linked at all than to have them up there with the last entry being several months ago – that says that you don’t know what you’re doing, and that’s definitely the wrong message to send.

But this isn’t just about social media – what it’s really about is customer service.  Have you pretended to be a client when you visit your website? Ask yourself – what would a client want when they’re coming here? How easy is it for them to access that information? What kind of response do I get if I call someone at the firm? Can I access individuals’ email addresses, or do I just have some generic (and annoying) form to fill out?

If you’re not sure you can be unbiased about this, or you’re not sure what your clients do want from your website…ask them. And then make the changes they suggest.

Find out what potential clients are looking for too – you want to make sure you’re not losing potential clients because they can’t find what they need on your website, so they just go somewhere else.  They won’t complain to you; they’ll just go elsewhere.  What’s your customer service experience like?