There isn’t much customer service anymore, but there is Facebook.
I recently sent a note to customer support about a glitch in a software application I use. I got a nice note back two days later that didn’t help at all. I was also instructed to become a fan on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
While shopping for sheets on the site of a major retailer, I was constantly interrupted and reminded to share my selections with my friends. I am sure my friends would be fascinated with my bed linen choices, but what I really wanted to do is buy the sheets and move on. They didn’t make it easy.
I could ask my friends for recommendations but to date their recommendations have not worked out for me. There was the operating system I put on my phone because a friend recommended it. It has a special feature that made my phone crash three or four times a day.
Then there is the app I bought that I don’t need because a friend insisted that it is a must-have. I would rather have my $5 back.
I got an e-mail from the company that I bought my computer from telling me what a great job they are doing and suggesting that I become their fan on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
This is the same company that puts the serial number upside down on the bottom of the computer in a two-point font and makes me recite it over and over as I go through the "automated" phone system to get some help and then drops the call after they transfer it for the third time forcing me to start all over.
Everyone wants to talk to me and they want to advertise to me. They want me to follow them on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook, but no one wants to listen when I have a problem with a product or a service. It is as if they believe they have customer service because they are on Facebook dishing up advertising every day.
Vendors promise me that they can better serve me if I go to their website first. I just love the phone company’s website. I have never seen so much useless information presented so beautifully on a site that’s so hard to navigate or find anything on. They have a fan page and encourage visitors to read it. I guess it is something for their customers to do while they wait on hold for a half hour.
I am not a fan of Facebook; I am a raving fan of customer service. I use Facebook because I have to — sometimes it’s the only place to find the information I’m looking for. Some organizations don’t publish information anywhere else. They force me to look at Facebook, probably because they were told they had to have a presence there.
My Facebook business page doesn’t have many fans — 38 the last time I checked. More than half are Realtors. My stats say I average five visitors a week. One must be my dad and I think the other is a neighbor so the other three must be Realtors.
I never asked anyone to become a fan, and I never will. I am not a fan of Facebook pages, and I am not a fan of fans. Of course now there are no fans because we have the "like" button. But it is the same principle renamed.
Maybe I would have more readers if I had a Facebook strategy. I don’t have a strategy because I thought Facebook was a social network and a way to keep in touch with family members and friends that live far, far away. I have no idea where I got a silly idea like that. But I can’t get it out of my head as I chat online with a cousin I have not seen in three years, or remind my niece that she has some homework to do, or check up on a friend who recently moved to California.
When I see how other companies handle customers and clients I begin to question my own approach, not to mention the value of my Facebook page. Have I put too many helpful layers of technology between myself and my clients? Do they give a hang about me or my sheets? Do I spend more time sending out my message than I do listening to what my clients want? Does my business page on Facebook add any value? Do any of them want that special faux Facebook friendship?
Corporate America seems to be taking Facebook and running with it. I don’t get a warm and friendly feeling from a company that has a page. I am not impressed at all. It doesn’t make them seem more human — it makes social media seem less human and more commercial.
I am not a fan of being a fan. The daily e-mails I get recommending that I become a fan could stop any day now and I wouldn’t miss them. If you want me to be a fan, do something remarkable and almost unheard of like actually deliver the product or service as advertised.