Home > Customer Service > A Mildly Dissatisfied Customer Service Experience #Custserv

A Mildly Dissatisfied Customer Service Experience #Custserv

Update – Hootsuite kindly responded in the comments.

Many of you know that I have co-hosted a weekly chat on Customer Service since late 2009. With over 77,000 tweets since April in this chat (#custserv), we’ve discussed much about best customer service practices across industries.

Early this week, I had an experience with Hootsuite, that left me disillusioned, mildly dissatisfied and a bit cynical about their Customer Service Department.

I’ve been using Hootsuite for over half a year, to manage both personal and client social media (one of the tools). I love it’s functionality, especially being able to group accounts/streams into tabs.

During the time I’ve been using Hootsuite, there have been several times a day where messages would not post to Facebook personal and fanpage accounts. I’ve dealt with it. I’ve known that they have an API issue with Facebook for months.

I’ve been a paying subscriber since they moved to a subscription format.

Beginning Sunday night, however, it all crashed. I kept getting session key errors and fails to post messages. I spent about eight hours between Sunday night and Tuesday researching their Help FAQ, user community blogs, etc., seeking an answer. Finally, fed up and frustrated, I reached out on Monday afternoon. They got back to me on Tuesday, mid-day. Here’s the exchange:

Jeffrey J Kingman
@hootsuite_help Are you guys having issues with Facebook again?
HootSuite Helpers
@jeffreyjkingman What is the issue you’re experiencing with your Facebook connections? ^DL
Jeffrey J Kingman
@HootSuite_Help complete fail on facebook connectivity, multiple fanpages and personal accts
Jeffrey J Kingman
@HootSuite_Help have already done help blog solutions many times.
HootSuite Helpers
@jeffreyjkingman Have you attempted testing in a new browser after clearing cookies and cache? ^DL
HootSuite Helpers 

@JeffreyJKingman Our operating hours are 9am-6pm PST. Tickets are answered in priority sequence. ^CT
HootSuite Helpers 

@jeffreyjkingman This is a known bug that Facebook has been working on:http://ow.ly/3TlFB ^DL
Jeffrey J Kingman 

@hootsuite_help Update #3 onhttp://ow.ly/3TIFB is dated Dec. 29. Any resolution in sight? #custserv
Jeffrey J Kingman 

@hootsuite_help With 1000s of paying users worldwide, would it make sense to pay $80,000/year for 24 hr help desk?#custserv
Jeffrey J Kingman 

@hootsuite_help Cleared cache/cookies. Tested on Chrome, Rockmelt and Firefox last night. #custserv
HootSuite Helpers 

@jeffreyjkingman It does continue to be a bug with Facebook’s API. We’re anxiously awaiting their solution on this. ^DL
Jeffrey J Kingman 

@hootsuite_help I’m frustrated/not angry. There is a disconnect between your marketing/what product can do.#custserv
Jeffrey J Kingman
@hootsuite_help Hootsuite Brand Promise http://ht.ly/3Tmsh // Product Disconnect http://ht.ly/3Tmut #custserv
Jeffrey J Kingman 

@hootsuite_help I love the product – when it works as promised. #custserv
HootSuite Helpers 

@jeffreyjkingman Please read the Support Captain’s Note on this issue, particularly the section on Facebook functionality http://ow.ly/3Tn4h
Jeffrey J Kingman
@hootsuite_help I have used Hootsuite/FB for months with spotty issue. It’s complete fail at this point.#custserv
Jeffrey J Kingman 

@hootsuite_help Yes, I’ve read that blogpost about a dozen times since November #custserv
HootSuite Helpers 

@jeffreyjkingman Good! Since November, we continue to document the issue. When the status changes, we’ll give everyone an update. ^CT
Jeffrey J Kingman 

@HootSuite_Help So in other words, I should stop depending on Hootsuite to manage Facebook accounts. #custserv

And that is it. No further interaction from Hootsuite.

Here are my points:

  • There’s a broken, or at least mildly unsustainable, brand promise issued by Hootsuite; that one will be able to manage postings across social networks, including Facebook, with ease and dependability. See this snapshot.
  • When a social media tech company has 1000s of paying customers spread around the world, having a help desk that only operates nine hours a day on Pacific time isn’t providing good customer service. What would that cost be? Hiring two reps, one for swing shift and the other for graveyard?
  • I had stated early in the conversation that this issue was repeating and that I had used all of their existing information over the previous months. They then referred me to a blogpost from November (which I’d already read and stated I’d read).
  • The end of the dialogue was weak. Simply congratulating a customer that they’ve done everything suggested, and leaving the customer frustrated – what? It doesn’t feel like good customer service practice.

My point in blogging this is a deep desire to better the practice of customer service across industries. I’m curious to hear what others think; if you would have handled it differently, if you think Hootsuite’s customer service was adequate or excellent (or abysmal) and any other opinions.

Meanwhile, to Hootsuite, I’m not satisfied. I’m not angry either. But the exchange and your Customer Service response felt trivialized; almost a brush off. I’ll keep using it and paying for it, but if another product appears with equal or better features, I’ll probably switch.

Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO, Chalkboarder

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  1. February 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Hello Jeffrey,

    First off, thanks for sharing your opinions and thoughts. We strive for a high standard of happiness so appreciate all feedback. In your case, there are 2 concerns: 1) the technical Facebook posting problem; and 2) the response time and accuracy from our Help Desk crew.

    1) As with any social web tool, the Facebook API changes. While some users (including yourself) experience conundrums with account authentication and reliable performance, most (98%) users are posting without hinderance to dozens (or hundreds in some cases) of FB Pages. Of course, we want everyone to be posting with ease which is why we are diligently and continually updating on our side.

    This week FB again updated Pages and we are migrating the newest API in an impending release. While we won’t know in advance whether this will resolve your problem, we can assure you that we are users too and understand your frustrations. As pointed out in the tickets, your issue relates to a known (albeit edge case) bug in Facebook which we are tracking and will update the help articles when we see any update.

    2) As for resolving your conundrum and our customer service practices in general, I explored the Help Desk ticket responses and extensive Twitter conversation. The only alternative i would suggest to my team (which i have) is to introduce you to this post (What to do if a Facebook profile or Page no longer connects to HootSuite http://ow.ly/3UTBI) – as well as the article they referenced – before closing the ticket. However, based on your replies, you likely had read this post and followed the steps.

    The replies came within the timeline of our SLA for Elevated Support and i found the tone to be supportive and polite. As for our operating hours, like you we are on Pacific Time and have agents on duty beyond the full business day. We also monitor for major problems at all times and have Japanese and Spanish support teams operating with different schedules to accommodate HootSuite users around the world. As we grow as a company, we’ll certainly look at feedback from users like you for ways to further refine our efficiency.

    Again Jeffery, thanks for your feedback. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ping me personally via @daveohoots or community (at) hootsuite (dot) com.

  1. February 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

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