How Not to Use Social Media for Customer Service!

Whenever possible, I try to base my articles on real life incidents because I believe that makes them more relevant and authentic.

So, let me share this recent incident in my life which shows how not to use social media for customer service.

Just recently, the router supplied by the cable and broadband provider to my home (Who will remain unnamed to avoid turning this into a rant against them by other irate customers in the comments.) simply stopped working.  After over three and a half hours of resetting the device and going through the Purgatory of the 1-800 number, I finally got a tech rep who was able to figure out what was going wrong,  Or, sort of.

Seems my router had mysteriously stopped using the named network I’d been using since it was installed.  Instead, the default network name had to be used instead.  (You know the one with the sixteen digit alphanumeric pass word?  Yeah, that one!)  So, by reinitializing all my devices, network connectivity was restored.  However, the tech rep still couldn’t see the router in my home and recommended replacing it.  His next suggestion that I simply drive over to what he thought was a local office to pick up a new router which I’d then install myself was quickly rejected.  He then offered to have a service rep come by to replace the original device and install the new one.  Even he was surprised when he realized that the earliest appointment wouldn’t be for another week.

I took the appointment grudgingly figuring I could use Twitter to raise the issue and get an earlier appointment.

After all, I do this for a living and had had excellent previous experiences with both Starbucks and Barnes & Noble (Yeah, the book store!) and their Twitter customer service functions.  I was heartened to find quickly my provider’s Twitter account for customer service and fired off a polite but firm complaint.

I was ignored for a while.

I tweeted some more with increasing urgency and was ignored some more.

Finally, someone tweeted me and asked me to contact him via DM with my telephone number so he could review my situation.

I promptly did this along with a brief description of my problem and a request for an earlier appointment.

A day later, this “someone” DMs back to say that since I already had an appointment all was good and thanks for contacting my service provider.

I DM back saying this is unacceptable and ask for an earlier appointment.

Over another day later, after several tweets and DMs on my part, someone else DMs me to say that he can help and provides me with several earlier time slots.  One is on the nest day!

I pounce and go for the appointment the next day via DM.

Then, yes you got it nothing!

I tweet and DM regularly.  I even retweeted an article critical of their CEO and his approach to customer service.  (He blames his customers. Really!)

Finally, after the desired time slot came and went with no service rep at my door, someone DMs me again to apologize and to say that nothing could be done.  He was oblivious of the earlier DMs which I referred him to.  He came back later, apologized some more, and said he couldn’t help me.

I resigned myself to my original appointment which was getting a lot closer now.

Oh, BTW later that evening someone from the “executive offices,” called my home leaving a voicemail and apologized again but couldn’t help me. He promised to call back next week!  (Yeah, sure!)

Here’s my service provider’s problem.

They have a social media function so they can say they have one but it’s actually doing them more harm than good.

It doesn’t work and I’m not even sure it’s monitored regularly.

However, they do have a lot of angry customers out there who are using social media to complain about them

This service provider has a bad reputation for customer service already and their use of social media will only make it worse, a lot worse!

Their solution?

Either put in a proper customer service function using social media or get out.

Somewhere in their C-suite some senior executive is bragging about how successful they’ve been with Twitter and probably got a good bonus for this amazing piece of work.

The reality is very different.

That’s it for now!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.


I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me.  Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

I can also be reached at

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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