First the background: I have been looking for a dining room rug for a long, long time. I don’t really want to spend a lot of money, as in the price of a unique, one-of-a-kind hand-tied, piece of art for the floor. But, I kind of was hoping for something better than a raffia throw-me-away-next-year from Ikea. You know, maybe something in the middle ground. And it needed to be at least 5’ x 8’, but the space could take up to 8 ‘x 10’.
So I have been clicking on a lot of links that show up in the ads that show up on articles I read online. Somewhere, someone in China or India is working on a design just for me based on the colors and styles in the links I click on, I’m sure of it.
Last week when I was pretty busy, I saw a great rug in the sidebar first thing in the morning as I was checking on email. I clicked on it and it was from a pretty well-known, internet-only, home goods site. You probably would know the name if I told you what it is. The price was more than I wanted to pay, but I was smitten. So, I tried to put it in my shopping cart and I needed to login first. Login wasn’t working.
Darn. Twenty things to do this week in the time I can safely take care of four or five. Right about then I get an email question from one of my clients. So, the universe clearly is not on my side in this. I get sidelined from my perfect dining room dreams, and take care of business.
But now that I have actually clicked on this link, the dream rug is following me. It’s in every ad on every page I visit. Good SEO. So after I finish 18 of the 20 things, one of them being my tax appointment late Friday, I figure I deserve a break and check on the rug again. The sale must be over because now the price has gone up another 25% and is clearly out of my budget. I’m disappointed, but I want it. I still can’t log in to the web site and I still need to reset my password before I can even put it in my cart to think about it. I manage this and put both the smaller and larger rugs in my cart to decide if I should take out a HELOC for one or the other.
Back on Facebook, I’m finishing up some posting for a non-profit group I’m volunteering for, and the rug is there, as usual now. But it is showing the image listed with the original sale price still showing. I screen shot it with the date and time in my menu bar. Long story short: I contact the company through their customer service link and ask about the price. I send the screen capture of the sale price with the rug image. Days go by before anyone answers me.
At one point I even tried Twitter as a means of establishing contact with the customer support team. By this time though, I have decided not to spend the money, and remove the rugs from my cart. Then…almost immediately, I finally get a response from customer service in response to one of my emails. But it is merely giving me a link to reset my password, nothing about the rug pricing yet.
This is kind of the final straw. Now even if I could afford the rug, I wouldn’t buy it from this company. If they are this unresponsive before they have my money, imagine what they will be like if I have any troubles after I purchase something.
My phone rings the next day. I don’t recognize the number, and I don’t pick up. It goes to my Google Voice account and I get a text message showing the transcript. It was the Escalation Manager for the rug company. She will grant me my wish of the lower price. She says she also has emailed me. No one has yet answered my tweet.
I return the phone call in my own good time because now I have to wait until I can remove the irritated customer tone from my voice. She obviously doesn’t need my bad attitude adding to her troubles. I’m gracious and reply with, “Thank You, but I’ve chosen not to purchase this rug at this time”. I follow up with an email asking if she might be able to tell me which social media monitoring software her company uses. Clearly, I want to know so I never use this same one for any client.
She writes back telling me the company uses Facebook Business Services. So I guess the company has made the choice to only focus on Facebook interactions. Quite honestly, I am surprised by this. A large, internet sales operation not using monitoring software? Or do you think the Escalation Manager doesn’t have a clue what I was asking her? Judging by their response time, this company is clearly headed down the tubes quickly, and maybe they didn’t renew their contracts for unnecessary things like customer service costs. Or maybe they have software, but have let so many staff go there is no one to see my plea for help.
The moral: If you have accounts on social media sites, make sure someone is watching them. All of them. Even a very low cost option like Hootsuite can make you aware of an interaction that could mean money in your pocket.