On Big Brands and Twitter

I rarely customer-support-frustration-tweet. But when I do, it usually means I have reached a point of serious customer un-support.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned with selling a product, it’s that companies need to take social media channels like Twitter seriously. It’s part of today’s customer support landscape. And I am not just talking about unhappy customers reaching out, also the happy ones. They both want to be heard.

There’s so much goodwill you can build up by simply *listening* and showing that you care. So, I am wondering, why does a brand like KitchenAid even have a Twitter channel if they keep ignoring tweet one, two and three?

This is a customer support fail of epic proportion. And if you knew the customer un-service G and I experienced with our freezer over the past week, and the reason why I even considered reaching out via Twitter, you would pull your hair out too.

So, please, if you care about your brand, pay attention to what your customers say on online. Or don’t have a Twitter/Facebook account to begin with.

And I hope I’ll eventually I’ll find out why I have snow in my freezer.

UPDATE: Kitchen Aid has not responded to any of my tweets or this blog post. It’s simply baffling. But the Financial Times has.

UPDATE 2: Two days after the Financial Times Article came out I heard back on Twitter. We were asked to email them our problem. Then a phone call happened. Everything was a big dose of ‘meh’. I spare you the details. I just say so much: Think twice if you’re considering buying a Kitchen Aid refrigerator.

17 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Customer service response time and quality is the number one value prop for Klout. It has the potential to evolve into yet another model of popularity coddling, but from a business standpoint it doesn’t make sense to ignore someone who has as wide a Twitter reach as you.

  2. Maybe they are still too busy trying to clean up there big Twitter misstep from last week. (And making sure it doesn’t get repeated during the next debate.)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/kitchen-aid-twitter-tweet-obama-grandmother_n_1938031.html

  3. This goes double for Contact Us forms on company websites where inquiries are ignored. Why offer the form if submissions will only go into a black hole?

  4. Tina, I wholeheartedly agree with this post. I manage the social media accounts for Lamps Plus (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and I know that when someone takes the time to tweet/post to reach out, the only responsible thing to do is to respond and work with that person to resolve their issue. By the time someone tweets about an issue, it’s usually out of frustration from not having their issues resolved through the regular customer service channels, and customers deserve to be heard! I can’t always provide the ideal solution, but I can listen and acknowledge their issue.

    (Sidenote: I’ve personally tweeted to brands/companies before when I’ve been unhappy with their product or service, and I’m not the complaining type – it takes a lot to get me that frustrated that I need to vent/reach out publicly, so I can definintely see both sides of this issue!)

    Hope you get a hold of Kitchenaid soon. Kudos to you starting this discussion on your blog – I think it’s a really imporant issue as social media evolves and grows.

  5. Its like companies who you talk to at fairs too, and do nothing but lie to you just to get you to go away…

    I hate it when companies say they’l be in touch – love your work, sound convincing and when you try to make contact again you get totally ingnored (emails, hand written letters and phone calls). Im talking about my interaction with Eric Kuster and Mark Van Ham of Holland (NL). Both supposably reputable business people…

    I wonder how they got to where they did in the first place? I have learned alot from this and how I deal with my potential clients and people who like my work and profession.

    Thx for bringing this up to us tweeter users.

    Kindest regards,

    Marcus @ Marquess

  6. I find this extremely frustrating as well and find it’s an issue across all forms of online media, including e-mail.

    Recently I was trying to purchase a pair of boots through Clark’s. I e-mailed them to see if they could tell me which stores in Toronto carry a particular style (not all stores carry it).

    Never heard back. Not even a “sorry we can’t help you with that.” I even made a point of saying this in my note, “I really hope that someone checks this e-mail and will get back to me.”

    It’s all the more frustrating that I actually have money and want to spend it on their product. If someone only took 2 minutes to e-mail me back they would have a sale.

    Social media is a two way street. If you want customers to use your website, to post “likes” etc…, you also have to be ready to respond to them when they want your help.

  7. I completely share your frustration. There’s absolutely nothing worse than having a complaint ignored. Especially when it’s on twitter and they’re too busy promoting the product, but not bothering to actually respond to your complaint.

    It’s actually why I started a blog called The Retail Files, because I’d had enough and felt like I needed to have my frustrations be heard. Along with the fact that I felt that companies could actually learn a thing or two about customer service.

    If you wouldn’t mind. I’d like to mention your post in my blog. Because it’s just excellent and you make such valid points.

  8. Funny you should say this. I reached out to you and the tattly team months earlier via email and twitter to get some help and received zero replies. Tattly might be a fun product but I doubt I’ll be getting anymore anytime soon.

  9. From my experience with some large brands just dipping their toes into the social media waters, they initially put their Twitter and Facebook accounts under the responsibility of the marketing/sales teams. Customer support staff is often in a completely separate department and may not even know that customers are reaching out through those channels. Not saying it’s right, but it’s far more common than it should be.

  10. Well for what it’s worth the very fact there needs to be customer support tells me that it’s not the means of contact that is wrong it’s the company’s operating procedures and systems that are wrong.

    Granted things outside the control of the company can and do go wrong so there is a need for a ‘If this happens do this’ kind of procedure for staff/owners to know what to do but that’s it. Everyone in the company should be aware of this procedure and therefore anyone can be tasked with dealing with it.

    On a personal level Twitter and Facebook are the last places I would go to contact a company about anything. In truth if they ignored all other channels and all there was left were Facebook and Twitter I’d be long gone as an ex-customer of that company.

  11. @Germaine, I looked up your support request and while we did what you asked us to do (remove the receipt from the shippment as it was a gift) we did not acknowledge it. Totally not cool and I’d like to apologize for not feeling heard.

  12. I just had a similar experience with Anthropologie. I’m from Montreal, and they recently opened a store here. But there is a Quebec law that states that if your have a store front in Quebec, your website must have a French version available. Instead of translating their website, they simply closed it down, inviting people to come to the store instead. Like many people, I thought it was unfair to prevent Quebec people to access their website as well as a lack of respect to our cultural reality and wrote to their customer-service email AND posted on their FB page. I never got an answer. Even more infuriating is that when you look at the comments on their FB wall, you see that they chose to answer only questions about refunds or other trivial shipping question, but never aknowledge the dozen or so comments about their refusal to comply with our cultural law. Not cool.

  13. Good on Anthropologie for having the balls to tell the state to stuff it, in effect.
    Bad on Anthropolgie for not even acknowledging you, a potential customer, took the time to e-mail your feelings to them.

    Perhaps they weren’t sure which language they should have used to respond so thought “better say nowt!”

  14. The link to the FT article keeps asking me to signup/login to read it. This one didn’t: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/def86534-1851-11e2-80af-00144feabdc0.html#axzz29fS5nePy

  15. I truly don’t understand how a brand that’s power is in its relationship to home and family can express so little caring about people. Similarly, when I was making our wedding cake, the motor of my KitchenAid mixer started dripping oil into the frosting, I tweeted about it, they reached out to me publicly as if they cared/would fix it, asked me to DM them my zip code, which I did, and I never heard from them again. They acted as if they cared publicly then ignored me privately. Shameful.

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