In this new day and age of social media–one of the most important aspects for business owners is to pay attention to customer issues posted on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Case in point. In past podcasts I’m discussed the importance social media plays in small business (even though many owners haven’t adopted it in the marketing yet).
Today’s Digital Marketing Update podcast discusses a real-case scenario albeit with a large phone carrier why this is becoming more critical for all businesses to pay attention to with their communication.
Most customers when satisfied with your service or product may never really tell you, or even rate you (unless you follow up and ask).
But when they are unhappy–they now have more than just a backyard neighbor to go to in venting their frustrations and dissatisfaction.
After cancelling a 24-month iphone 7 lease contract after it was paid up—and returning the phone to my carrier, I was charged a full months service+lease fee on my credit card.
This didn’t really surprise me, but I was only three days into the new billing cycle–but was billed for the entire month. So I thought I would go the social media route after I had talked to two people who said they would credit me back $53.
Here’s the original post I made on Facebook and their response. Now, imagine this is one of YOUR customers and you have over 1000 likes on your business Facebook page.
How would you feel and what would you do?
That’s the subject of today’s video podcast.
Here’s a screenshot of the post and their comments:
Sprint using deceptive billing practices, charging for a full months usage even though only 4 days were active in new billing cycle prior to cancellation?
Here’s my vent.
Sprint has an opportunity to do the right thing with a KC customer.
Ended my two year iphone lease with them after lease period was paid up.
Was told I needed to pay anotehr $143 to “own” the phone.
Battery was dying otherwise I would have stayed with them especially since they were going to go with $35/mth free talk/text and up to 2G data plan rather than $60/month.
All I really wanted was to spend $100 or less on a new phone and a $35/mth plan (which I did get with a prepaid carrier and up to 5G data)! Many of these prepaid phones are Android perform similar to my $650 iphone 7s.
However, I noticed that after four days into my new billing cycle, i decided to cancel and go with a cheaper phone on prepaid. Then i saw an $87 charge on my credit card. when I call to talk to a rep–I told them that i cancelled after four days but they still charged me for a full month.
I was passed upward to another person who said that they would credit my card on Sept. 10 (today) for $53 (which is still not enough because prorated it was $2.90 per day or $13, not $33). I was told they needed my “phone” approval before they’d credit my card and i would be called today at 10:30a CST per my request.
It’s now after 10:50a and no word from anyone–which is leading me to post this.
IF THEY JUST WOULD HAVE TOLD ME UPFRONT–“sir, we’ll pro-rate your bill and only charge you $13 since you cancelled after four days into the new billing cycle and returned your phone two weeks ago…”
THIS WOULD NOT BE NECESSARY! SHAME ON YOU SPRINT!
This action would separate you from your competitors when it comes to how you treat customers.
Now, over 3.5 million “likes” are reading this on social media and my guess is others will chime in.
Is this how you want to be seen by customers?
This is why it’s crucial in this day of social media to be proactive in treating customers right!
I will UPDATE this post once I hear back from them.
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Marketing Your Business; I Just Posted A Four-Paragraph Rant With My Phone Carrier, Importance of Social Media In Your Business. Podcast #32!
Host: John D. Verlin
Good afternoon, John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions with Digital Marketing Update, podcast #32.
I’ve entitled this—I just posted a four paragraph rant against my phone carrier, the importance of social media.
Today ironically is the day Iphone 8 came out and the Iphone X at Apples big event and announced their new products. Which ties in to my rant basically with my phone carrier.
I’m kind of looking at this as a “teachable” moment.
And I’m seeing myself as more of an educator to business owners as well as a marketing individual, consultant.
But I’m having to educate as to why all of these elements tie in together in marketing, social media, your regular advertising, PR—all of these facets work together to create your branding platform, your marketing platform.
I had recently ended a twenty-four month lease on an Iphone 7 with Sprint.
No problems with the service, but the battery on the phone seemed like it started to hold less of a charge for what I needed.
I began to think maybe it’s time to trade up but I didn’t want to spend $700. So I decided, you know what, I don’t need all of the bells and whistles.
My actual usage has gone down than it was a year or two ago.
And I began to highlight like most of us do what the real features are that I really wanted.
So, bottom line is, I contacted them and they said, “yeah, your $87/mth fee is no longer applicable. It’s now down to $60/mth since you’ve finished your lease.
But, if you want to buy the phone, you pay $143 more and you own it.”
Or, “you upgrade to a new Iphone and that’s another $33/mth, on top of the $60/mth for up to 2gigs of data.
So, I thought about it and after 2-3 days, I decided I’m just going to turn it back in. I’m gambling on how long that battery is going to last cause the phone is sealed.
I’m just going to go ahead and get a $100 phone.
And that’s exactly what I did. And I love it! I actually got two phones. A $100 one and a $50 one to play around with.
Both have Android, same apps, same everything.
I kept the other one as a backup when this one dies, because I can change the battery in it, which a lot of these you can’t anymore.
But this is an older phone.
Brand new though. I went through a prepaid carrier. Virgin Mobile which I believe runs off of Sprints tower.
Basically I’m going from what I had to a lower cost plan, $35/mth for 5gig data which is four times more than I was using.
That was what I decided. I went ahead and sent the phone back to Sprint. Three weeks later, I see a $87 bill on my credit card.
I’m a little baffled, because I had paid everything off. I had sent the phone back and now they’re charging me for another month.
So I contacted them. Talked to somebody for twenty minutes.
They shifted me to someone else who, after waiting thirty minutes said, “we’ll go ahead and credit you $53 of that $87 because you were actually three days into the new billing cycle.”
And I thought, oh—ok. On September 10th, we’ll go ahead and credit your account. So, I’m waiting. Two weeks later I’m thinking I’ll be I won’t hear from them. We’ll guess what—I didn’t hear from them.
So I put it on my calendar and I thought—you know what, this irritates me. It’s not the money as much as the principle.
I came up with a four paragraph rant. I was going to wait to 10:30a CST (when they said they’d call). Then I was going to post it on their Facebook page.
And I have this as you can see on this blogpost. You can see the rant that I posted. After I posted it—within five minutes they responded.
“Please contact us through private messenger”. Standardized message. But there were 38 responses to my comment. I don’t know how many there are today.
It’s a few days later, I’m sure there are quite a few more.
People were going off on them, all this kind of thing. But I want to talk about why this is important for your business.
We sometimes overlook social media. We think, I’ll get around to it. I’ll post every now and then.
The problem is—if you have a guy like me who is not happy.
And I went ahead and conjured up a four paragraph negative post—basically accusing you of account misrepresentation and possibly fraudulent billing practices.
And that gets in print in front of their 3.5 million likes on their Facebook page, what do you think that’s going to look like? Do you think they really care? Maybe, maybe not.
But with that many people viewing that kind of commentary, from customers, that can get around.
That opens a can of worms. It could open a can of worms. And probably, realistically, they know most people are in debt and don’t looks at things, and they can go ahead and slip in that $87 charge.
Nobody is going to notice and they’ll pay.
And that irritates me.
Because I think that’s exactly what happened.
And particularly they say they’ll get back with you and put that back on your credit card.
Never heard a word. That irritates me even more is why I did this.
Why is this important?
Well, if you’re opening yourself up to not knowing what your customers think about you, your products or services.
And you don’t have some sort of engagement on social media.
You’re doing a couple of things in my opinion. You’re not able to get feedback from them. Good or bad.
But you’re not engaging them early on as we’ve talked about on other podcasts for future for growing your business.
Now, yes, you are going to get people upset—they’re going to rant.
But guess what? This gives you a chance to get back with them.
Find out what went wrong. Correct it. And this is all part of your marketing platform, because people will see that you’re engaged.
They see that you care about them. They see that you’re wanting to make an attempt to correct things.
And that’s all a part of your brand image.
Now, if you don’t have a Facebook business page, or a Twitter page or any way for them visibly online to get in touch with you, they’re still going to make the rounds.
At a chamber meeting or over a fencepost. At least by having some sort of engagement with them, you can prevent these kinds of things from having a backfiring effect on your business.
And you know that Sprint and all of these phone carriers are out there spending money to compete and bragging about how many new people they just got.
Well guess what.
If Sprint were to have read what I said. What I really wanted. They could take what I’m saying and turn that around and make it part of their marketing.
Well, the guy wants a $100 phone with a $35/mth plan—well, we already have a $35/mth plan. We can go ahead and match that with the competition.
Maybe we offer another type of phone or whatever—not to cannibalized prepaid businesses or whatever, that we let them run on our service.
Maybe we offer another option. If they get enough of these.
People saying I don’t want to spend that much.
I have a feeling we’re going to see more of that in spite of this Apple new release with the higher price tag.
I have a feeling there maybe some pushback or kickback to that.
They start to say, well the customer is telling us what they really want.
That’s how you can use that negative feedback you’re getting to turn it around. Maybe you don’t even have to do a survey anymore.
Just monitor your Facebook page.
The comments people are making. Answering them and getting back with them. Then turning that around to make it a marketable opportunity.
That’s what I’m talking about.
Now, Sprint can make this right.
By simply getting back…”we saw that you only used three days into your new plan cycle. We apologize (which they already said) for inconvenience.”
And what if they were to take that as a part of a marketing campaign?
We will not charge you for a full month usage—and we will prorate usage into the time, prior to cancellation if you ever do. We’re making it right with you.
What comes to mind is this big Wells-Fargo fiasco.
Where they made up accounts.
Charged customers for unknown accounts they didn’t even know they had. A huge, gigantic, fraudulent…I can’t even imagine anything worse.
As big of a bank as they are to stake their trust, reliability and reputation with their customers to so mislead them. To brag about it. I don’t quite get it.
At any rate, here’s four things why this is important for you to consider for your business:
Engage in a Facebook business page oer Twitter page. Start that engagement process with prospects and current customers.
Monitor the pages on a regular basis.
See if there are any questions or comments that you can respond to.
That’s again, part of your marketing platform. It shows people you care, you are engaged and you are alive.
You’re not hiding behind a website. Or hiding behind an unknown phone number. That you are for real.
You are answering them.
In answering questions and complaints, try to make it personal.
I know if you have a big business and a lot going on—well maybe it’s time to hire somebody in-house, or freelance it to a social media marketing person or agency. Because you need to answer these.
If you let them hang out there, and people see they were never answered, and it’s over a month old—a day old, two days old, three days old—that’s unacceptable.
That forms the brand impression on the marketing platform I’ve been talking about. And they are going to assume things about you and your business.
And finally, learn from this and incorporate this and what they’re saying into the marketing to enhance the customer experience.
This is what everybody is spending money on with artificial intelligence and data and all of these things is to enhance the customer experience.
That’s what it’s all about. I guess if you’re a big CEO and shareholder value and all.
It all comes down to that bottom line, the customer experience.
And you can use social media with the positive and negative comments on it from your customers and prospects to enhance that experience with them in a positive way to grow your business.
So, read my rant.
You can see what I was upset about. I spilled it out.
People jumped on my rant comment to respond and they were angry about other stuff. It opened a can of worms.
In the big scheme of things with all of the customers that they have it doesn’t really count much.
But, for a small business, you have a couple of customers doing this—this could effect your business.
So those are four things I wanted to leave with you to consider starting a Facebook business page or Twitter page. Start engaging prospects and customers.
Build a relationship with them by consistently posting. Responding to the questions and complaints.
Learn from these comments, questions and complaints. Incorporate it into your marketing to advance the customer experience.
John Verlin can be reached at email@example.com.
And we’ll talk to you next week about more on demand thoughts, ideas and comments! Have a great day!
All podcasts are recorded by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas
Copyright, John D. Verlin 2017