Social Media, when used efficiently, can take your business to places you never thought possible. From my perspective, there seems to be a huge gap between companies and their Social Media / Email Marketing teams. Let me tell you a personal story…
Excitement: My New Camera and Memory Card
I recently acquired a new camera ( Sony Nex 5 ). It’s been fantastic, but that’s not really the point here. I knew immediately that I would also be purchasing an EyeFi 8GB card to compliment my new cam. The EyeFi, for those that don’t know, is an SD card that has a built in wireless chip that uploads your images for you automatically, without even taking the card out of the camera or plugging anything in. Pretty amazing stuff!
I had been using my old card, but was really excited when the new one arrived.
Running into Trouble
Upon running the configuration, I realized something wasn’t right. I couldn’t get the card to connect to my network and I began troubleshooting. Reboot the router, add more DHCP address space, format the card and try again; you name it, I tried it.
After exhausting all other options, I decided to bring the camera and card to my office. I figured I could set up the card there and at least I’d know it was my router having issues. Same story though, as I was unable to get it working there as well.
It was time to call support and figure out my next options. Support took me through all the normal troubleshooting procedures, pull this, do this, format that. I humored them as I know they have steps they are required to put me through. By the end of the call (Over 1 hour) we were no where closer to finding an answer. The tech suspected it may be that I wasn’t using their SD reader, and that it might be a power issue on the built in Macbook Pro reader. He asked if I could call from home later that evening, which I obliged.
When I called in later that evening, I was able to get a hold of the tech I spoke to previously. Within 1 minute of getting on the phone he said he knew exactly what the problem was. Turns out there was some sort of hardware change on the latest run of the X2 cards and that this change had broken the firmware. I was advised that I would need to wait for a fix and that there was no work around possible. I inquired how long they’ve known about this issue and if there was an ETR, to which he replied. “The engineering department has been working on it for about a week and a half, and there is no ETR”.
Obviously this pissed me off, as this card’s whole selling point is it’s wireless feature and I was left without it. I basically had a way overpriced SD card.
A Missed Opportunity
On a whim, I decided to ask if they would be providing any compensation to the users affected by this issue. I was told unfortunately no, and that there was nothing anyone could do or offer.
To me this is a major missed opportunity as a company.
How is their best response to tell me it’s broken, and they’ll fix it when they fix it. Deal with it! Barely even an apology.
Obviously I don’t expect them to send me out a bunch of free EyeFi cards simply because mine is out of service right now, however, when you realize that EyeFi makes a portion of it’s revenue selling an online photo storage service, you see they have no idea how to turn the tables on a negative situation like this.
If I were in charge
First thing I would have done, as a decision maker at EyeFi, would have been to implement a program where anyone affected by this issue be offered a 6 month free subscription to our photo service.
With one gesture you instantly apologize for an issue. Beyond that, this could potentially draw in a new subscription customer. Some of those affected people are going to use the service, and after 6 months of photos are within that service, they aren’t going to want to pull them out and relocate them, so what’s left to do? Renew your subscription!!
Sadly, I’m not running the show at EyeFi, and this issue will either get swept under the carpet, or be a huge bruise to the arm of the company and provide them with no real upside.
Now comes the kicker.
The next day (1/11/11) at 8:00 on the dot, I received an email from EyeFi.
I could barely believe my eyes. I just received an email from EyeFi asking me how my first week with EyeFi went.
Were they serious?
Could there really be this big of a communication gap within the company?
Working in Social Media, I see things like this all the time. Whether it’s product announcements that go live in Twitter, that have recently been halted and pulled from line lists, or leaks of confidential information, makes no difference. The reason is always the same, lack of communication.
If you are taking steps to make Social Media a part of your business / marketing plan, then you need to adopt it whole heartily. Other departments need to be made aware of campaigns going on that may be affected, or affect things they are working on. If there is an issue that is going to cause in influx of customer service complaints, don’t you think it’s a good idea to prepare your customer service team? The same goes for Social Media.
Hopefully this article will prevent your company from leaving a bad taste in one of your customer’s mouths. Encourage open communication between departments, don’t keep secrets from your employees and between teams!