Monday, May 03, 2010

Social Media Mission Control

Sold on the idea that they absolutely just have to be involved in Twitter, Facebook and probably Foursquare at this point, businesses still fail miserably when it comes to social media. It's not really their fault. I blame the clowns at the agencies who made them believe how important it was in the first place.

I tweeted recently about my disappointment with my insurance company - by name. (Hint: You're not really in good hands with them.) Within a day and a half, which is a long-ass time in social media, I got a reply on Twitter, though I'm sure they thought they were being quite timely. It was a very bland and corporatey response, something to the effect of, "Sorry. How can we help?" But the truth is, that's all they could say. Unfortunately, there is nothing they can actually do to help and they know that. They sent an adjuster out to the house who denied my claim, so I said they sucked on Twitter. Is their Twitter Response Team going to overrule the adjuster? Of course not. They responded just for the sake of responding, to avoid looking like an uncaring corporate entity with little regard for their customers' petty complaints. They call it Brand Reputation Management, which is a nice way of saying "Spray the Dog Shit with Lysol." It will stop stinking for a little while and maybe people will walk through the room and not notice it. Eventually it will dry up and stop stinking altogether.

I'm sure there are others out there who griped about an airline and maybe got a few free miles out of the exchange, but those cases are rare. Personally, I'd rather go back to the days (two years ago) when companies just let the complaints happen, not worried what one little tweet was going to do to their brand. One little tweet won't do shit to your brand, unless it reflects a huge and catastrophic fuck-up on your company's part, like maybe you lost a child on one of your airplanes. You got sold on "Being in a Conversation" with your customers, which is utter bullshit. You may now appear to be in a conversation, but you don't give a rat's ass anymore than you ever did. There are other insurance companies, but this one gambles that I will probably not go to the trouble of switching to another just because I have to pay for my own claim now. They're probably right, but their fake caring response had nothing to do with that. They should stop worrying about it and stop pretending to care.

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  • More proof Organizations have no idea what they are doing in social media. Most of the time the people doing the actual work are very low end people. I think they scour their organization and say 'Timmy has a great social life and at 23 years old must know this social media thing and he comes cheap!". These people need training and empowerment and they shouldn't be the interns if their actions could affect wide scale company policy or image.

    We saw that with Nestle. A company with what 2 billion customers and a firestorm over interacting with a few hundred people on Facebook caused them to change their whole palm oil procurement process.

    That being said as you stated a ton of supposed 'Pros' also have no idea what they are doing!

    By Anonymous Howie, at May 3, 2010 at 10:11 AM  

  • Just to give you a bit of utterly unexpected faith, a while ago I tweeted that my Comcast connection speed was barely faster than dialup. Shortly thereafter a Comcast person tweeted back and offered to help. The truly amazing thing is, they actually *did* help. I watched my speed return to normal as she did whatever it was she did on her end. I was amazed.

    By Anonymous everysandwich, at May 3, 2010 at 10:34 AM  

  • I have heard good things about Comcast's responsiveness on Twitter as well.

    I recently tweeted negatively about the fuckers at Liberty Mutual. (Although the other driver was completely at fault in the eyes of the police, LM simply declined to pay the full repair price for my car. Just refused.) Got no response at all. I think I would have felt better if they replied, but you do have a point: if they're not going to do anything they should just stay off Twitter.

    Love the blog!

    By Blogger martyparty, at May 3, 2010 at 1:30 PM  

  • Martyparty's story about Liberty Mutual is completely at odds with the message of their feel-good, pay-it-forward TV campaign. Yeah, round up the usual suspects. Makes me a little ill that the great tune they use by Hem is insulted by the company's behavior, at least in this case.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 4, 2010 at 2:16 PM  

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