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Social Media Success Story

26 Feb

Maybe you’re not convinced that social media is worthwhile. I can certainly understand that. Remember, I used to think the same way. I want to present a recent experience with a big box retailer’s member support to show you why you, as a company, should embrace social media. Maybe this will change your mind.

My wife and I shop at a local big box retailer. We established two accounts there back in February 2004. We have been happy with them for most of that timespan. However, events last year almost drove me to cancel our membership.

I usually pay our bills in person. I visit the local store and give them our two statements with two checks. Staff usually applies my check to my account and my wife’s check to her account. They have done this correctly for years. I thought this was a rather simple task for staff.

I was wrong. Last summer, staff repeatedly applied both checks to my wife’s account. She ended up with credit balances and I ended up with past due balances, late fees, and interest. This did not make sense to me. I worked with staff at the local store to reapply the payments correctly and remove the penalties. I thought this was a done deal. I was wrong.

On December 4, 2010, I visited the local store, filled my shopping cart with $188 worth of items, and tried purchasing them. The clerk told me my account was closed. I visited the service desk and was notified that although my membership was valid, my credit account had been closed. She called their 800 number and handed me the phone, and I was informed that they closed my account due to a “business decision.” I hung up and went home.

I can make “business decisions” too. I decided to launch a Facebook flame campaign against them. How could the big box retailer close an account on someone who has paid his bills on time every month since early 2004? How could they close an account that has a $0 balance? How can they close an account on someone whose credit score is in the 99th percentile? This was downright stupid.

I sat at my computer and opened Facebook.com. I thought, “Maybe I can complain at their Facebook page and see if anybody there responds.” I found a product page for them and wrote my complaint. This was Saturday night.

Within two hours, a Facebook user responded and identified herself as a big box representative. She asked for my name, phone, and membership number. She said someone would contact me within a few days.

On Monday morning, I received a call from another representative informing me that she would be assisting me with the credit issue I reported on their Facebook page. That afternoon, I received a call from a third representative who asked me for more info and then reopened the account. This call came in at 2:45. She reopened the account within 10 minutes.

The next day, the second representative called and asked if everything was settled to my satisfaction. I visited my local store that Tuesday afternoon, bought something on my credit account, and reported that yes, everything was resolved to my satisfaction.

The big box retailer turned the situation around within one business day. I was angered by their credit agent’s stupidity and wrote a concise Facebook post showing how they angered a long-term member. Somebody monitored that page on a Saturday night. Somebody else responded further on Monday morning. Somebody else fixed the issue on Monday afternoon.

I am once again thoroughly satisfied with this big box retailer. Their ability to fix this situation made them a hero in my book. Their embracing of social media makes them a hero in this book.

I believe this answers the question “Will social media help me retain current customers?”

*****

Mark Anthony Germanos is the author of two books, Escape the Cubicle: How to leave your corporate or government job for something better and How to Make Computer Systems Work for You. He has faith in a slow but sure Sacramento business revival. Sacramento small business owners are leading the way. His second book, Escape the Cubicle, is for those who want to escape cubicle jobs and become successfully self-employed. Escape the Cubicle answers the questions: "How can I grow my business" and "How do I become my own boss."

Mark is the President of Cameron Park Computer Services. As a business owner and computer networking consultant, he has seen habits that successful Sacramento small business owners embrace. He helps Sacramento small business owners embrace those habits to increase their profits, efficiency and happiness. An advocate of Sacramento business revival, Mark believes everybody should run their lives like a small business, perform SWOT Analyses and use social media campaigns to improve business. He used to say “social media is stupid.” That was until he attended a conference and saw how Sacramento small business owners can use social media campaigns as a valuable tool. Since then, he has earned more than $40,000 in business via social media. His Sacramento small business clients also have five-figure returns. Sacramento small business owners that launch social media campaigns give themselves a comparative advantage over those who lag behind. Mark does not do everything, but his clients do receive great results and participate in the Sacramento business revival when they follow his advice.

Mark moved from Chicago and restarted his business in California with a cell phone and a Honda Civic. An active triathlete, he has a life, a dream wife and a dog. For additional details, visit http://markanthonygermanos.com. Twitter: http://twitter.com/markgermanos. Facebook: http://facebook.com/markanthonygermanos. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/markgermanos.

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