It’s a joke, companies will happily accept your hard-earned money in exchange for their services, yet when you have a problem they make it nigh on impossible to get hold of them, and the sheer number of obstacles and hurdles you need to overcome make it more like completing a Tough Mudder event than a simple conversation.
Here's the question. Are you sick of not being heard?
Tired of waiting on hold for twenty-five minutes, whilst bad elevator music is unceremoniously blasted down your ear hole? At this stage it feels as if you have no choice, you’ve committed to resolve said problem and you’re in it for the long haul, you’ve come this far and now you are forced to listen to awful elevator music while you take time out of your busy schedule to call a company that you are beginning to dislike more and more by the second.
You could hang up, but then all invested efforts would be reduced to zero and you’d be left alone, with only your ever-growing frustration to show for it. No, you tell yourself, I must continue, I have come this far!
As you wait on the other end, in hope of that voice that abruptly interrupts the monotonous musical rendition repeating for what seems like an eternity with a ‘hello, how can I help you’ you pretend not to care, you distract yourself by making a cup of tea. At least I’ll get something out of this call you think to yourself.
Then there is silence, you listen intently, you think this might be it, but all hope goes out the window as soon as you hear ‘we are currently experiencing unexpectedly high call volume, please stay on the line and a representative will get to you shortly’.
You could have flown to Mexico in the time it’s taken so far.
Then it happens, all of a sudden, the music stops, and you’re on live with the operator.
After waiting for so long you struggle to remember why you were even calling in the first place, you’re just raging in inside. Keep calm you tell yourself, this person is only trying to help.
You contain yourself and explain the situation. The response from the operator is cold and to the point, ‘I’ll transfer you to the billing department’, before you’ve had a chance to contest you are on hold again listening to the ever more annoying music, tormenting you with every arid note.
So let’s stop there.
What if I told you there was another way. A way that puts you back where you rightfully should be as the customer, on top. Companies spend vast amounts of time and expend huge resources in pursuit of new customers but what about the old ones, the loyal ones, the ones who are actually using the service?
Well I’ve got news for you. You’re forgotten until you find the right channel of communication. You know the saying ‘he who screams the loudest’ well this wouldn’t be too far from the truth in this instance.
In our busy lives we don’t have time to be passed around from person to person, until finally we get the correct department only to be told that we need to go into a branch to get the problem fixed. It’s inefficient and dull. Who has time to take 50 minutes out of their life, sitting on hold, we’ve got babies and kids, and bosses, and presentations to write, emails to scrutinise and excel spreadsheets to populate. We are the always-on society.
And this, my friends is where a new strategy comes in to place. Call it a #lifehack if you will. Play them at their own game. Stand out and be recognised with the service you deserve.
I say, take it to Twitter. Twitter may not have done what it intended in creating a stupendously profitable business model but one genius use that I have found, is that it's incredible for placing you at the front of the queue with a direct access to corporate clients.
Yes, take it to Twitter is the new way of negotiating. By airing your concerns in a series of carefully crafted 240 characters, directed to said party, for all to see, you can rest assured that in less time than it would take you to dial the number and sit on hold with your cup of tea, you will have a response from someone a) willing to check your account, b) listen and c) problem solve.
It’s the new normal. The power of Twitter places the companies brand image in your hands. Corporate clients have whole teams of people dedicated to handling complaints and troubleshooting errors to resolve problems in a swift and customer centric manner.
No longer are you at the back of the queue, at the mercy of the operator to transfer your call and rely the correct information to the next helper. You are in control because these companies hate the idea of this playing out in full view, with the threat of going viral.
3 Tips for taking it to Twitter
Be courteous and direct
There’s no need to go overboard, mistakes happen, be courteous but explain what’s going on and what you want. Don’t beat around the bush, get to the point. In the words of Jerry Maguire – ‘Help me, help you’. Remember what happens online, stays online, its not an anonymous world out there so there’s no need to be name calling, or saying anything that you wouldn’t comfortably say to their face or that you would be ashamed if your boss read. My advice is, keep it clean and look for the solution. Even giving them a solution, gives them something specific to work with.
For example, if you have slow internet speeds, tell them that you would like a call back within the next two hours, and you want to discuss a months refund for the loss of service. This helps manage their expectations, by articulating clearly what you want and what you expect to get to make things right.
Turn on your Notifications
The point of getting direct access is to allow you to carry on in your day uninterrupted. Turn on your notifications so that you can relax unhindered by the pressure of waiting for them to reply. This is a where technology can help optimise your life.
Once you receive a reply, be responsive, you’ve got a live one and you are now in communication. You don’t want them to think the problem is fixed because you fell silent. Now is the time to engage in more detail. They’ll most likely ask you to send them a Direct Message (DM) to get your conversation out of the public eye, remember that what you write hear is just as important. Try to convey the problem and the solution if you can. It’s important to stay in integrity with yourself, don’t write anything that would be considered rude to the individual. This is not about them, it’s about the solution and remember the more they like you, the more they will be willing to do for you.
There you have it, the new way to negotiate, problem solve and lead a more efficient life is via social media.