In the current Social Networks era, brands need to have a well managed presence on them and this is sometimes better understood by small shops or restaurants than by many larger companies. I will briefly relate on this post two negative experiences as a client that I have recently suffered. One of it has to do with no presence at all on Social Media and poor Customer Service while the other case is about a brand with a Facebook fanpage but who makes a bad management of its Social Networks.
I was called by phone by an employee of a public service oligopoly who didn’t tell me his name or which department of his company he was calling from, but he did mention the name of the company and warned me that I was going to be charged an amount that month 6 times higher than usual and that if I didn’t agree I needed to contact a call centre. I went immediately to check my meter and realised by using a simple “rule of 3” and the previous month bills that they were wrong and that my consumption was within normal, then I called the Complaints and Incidents Dept. phone he gave me and they were unaware of the trouble, so I dialed another number that was on one of their bills as Meter Reading Dept. where they didn’t know anything either but noted my figure. I thought everything was solved. My surprise was that a week later the bill copy arrived by mail with the wrong amount, already deducted from my bank account. I called again their Meter Reading Dept. where I was “bounced” to Complaints and Incidents, where they said that in 7 days I was going to have the overcharged amount refunded. Since I was already mistrusting them, I searched on the Internet to see if the brand managed a Facebook page or Twitter account and my surprise was that they didn’t have any. Then I managed to find thanks to Google Maps their closest to my home Customer Care desk, went there and the agent who assisted me, who didn’t let me expose him the whole case, reiterated that I had to wait a week to get my money back.
The expected day arrived and there was still no refund in my account so I insisted again with Complaints and Incidents and that time they gave me a reference number, asked for my mobile phone number and told me they were going to call me later. The day after and without being contacted I called back again and they said that only 24 hours of my notification have passed and that I was going to receive the refund within another 7 days time and that the only way of sending them a letter of complaint was by postal mail! I asked for a supervisor and the agent on the phone replied: “I can’t because I am in charge of this call and have to assist you from start to finish”. Then I went back to the Customer Care desk and their employee told me in a rather rude way: “You have no reason to complain, this is the normal time for both billing and refunds.” The day after I received a refund invoice with the correct amount without even an apology letter. Finally, I received my money back.
Leaving aside the wrong billing and their lack of reaction when I communicated them the right meter reading, I will focus on their Customer Service mistakes:
1.-Employees who didn’t mention their names unless the customer asked them to.
2.-A Customer not handled either by the same agent or by the same department from beginning to end.
3.-Both the Complaints and Incidents and the Meter Reading Dept. said they didn’t have in their database the wrong misreading they had made of my meter.
4.-The Customer Care desk employee didn’t let me explain him my case and he behaved at all times with a “defensive” and lack of empathy attitude.
5.-The first time I contacted The Complaints and Incidents Dept. they didn’t give me a reference number of my complaint.
6.-I was never contacted on my mobile phone despite they promised it.
7.-In the second decade of the 21st. century they only accept written complaints by postal mail.
8.-They didn’t let me speak to a supervisor.
9.-No presence on Social Networks where they could have a feedback with their customers as a way to know why and how their service fails and improve performance at all levels.
10.-I never received an apology letter from the company.
The other case is about a chain of meat products stores. I started to follow their page on Facebook and wrote a post praising the quality of their products but complaining that some packs of beef burgers that I used to buy, now contained beef and pork, wondering why they did not continue selling the earlier version with less fat. I was replied that what happened is that the product always had the same composition indicated in the ingredients but now by law they had to state it clearer in capital letters and then their Community Manager wrote: “What happens is that you failed to read the whole label”. No comments! They also commited another social customer service mistake: It took them 23 days to give me that bad-mannered reply! Of course I immediately stopped following their page and buying their products.