9 Jan 2013

Internal Communication - Will SHOUTING Help?

Why invest in offering customer service online, expensive measurement tools and resources if the end result is to ask customers to write a letter of complaint and wait 28 days for a response?

Happy customers are crucial to the success of any business and companies are often nervous of social media, fearful of customers posting negative comments about their products online. Strategies are created for Reputation and Crisis Management, which is smart thinking, but the real challenge facing larger organisations is often closer to home, in the form of Internal Communication.

For the last few weeks I’ve been having an issue with a large multi-national company, let’s call them Smiths. Smiths are so huge that they don’t really need my business. I am just one isolated customer in a huge sea of never ending consumers.  Smiths have a very active social media team who search twitter and online forums for disgruntled customers to help. When I tried to get support via twitter I was given a phone number to call as I needed someone higher up the chain to solve my issue. Numerous calls later, still no joy.

I'm now frustrated and annoyed. I could take to my twitter account and make a fuss. I could name and shame ‘Smiths’ in this blog. I could do the online equivalent of shouting and waving my fists. Apart from the fact that's not my style I’m not going to for the following reasons;
     1) I'll bore the pants off my followers, no-one cares except me. (see article about vampires)

2) No matter how loud I shout, Smiths aren't listening.

Smiths pay a fortune for a social media measurement tool to analyse the sentiment of tweets and monitor their online reputation. These tools are impressive, the information they provide is fascinating, enlightening and of value if used correctly. That's great, but it's likely the Boss doesn't want or have time to review ALL of that information…. So the staff will just summarise it, put together a four page report, just the main points, a general overview. Somewhere in the process my little blog and tweets would get lost. The same thing will happen with the report from their text messaging survey shown above. How many disgruntled customers are being ignored?

Smiths tick all the boxes, email marketing, social media, text messaging services, up to date website, special offers, rewards schemes. They have policies and procedures coming out their ears. What they are missing is customer service and effective communication. It's crucial to join the dots, talk to the department next door, feedback information from the bottom to the top and vice versa. My issue with Smiths shouldn't be difficult to fix, but none of the departments are aware of what information is being given out and no-one is willing to take responsibility or provide me with a response or a solution. The answer? I've cancelled my contract and signed up with another supplier. 

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