Moving is a real pain in the neck. We've done it enough over the years to become fairly expert at it. The prep work before, the packing and craigslisting, tidying up the loose ends including utilities transfers- it's a lot of work.
Saturday my wife reminded me that we needed to return the cable TV converter box to Comcast. No problem, it's always been pretty easy to drop off a box as there have always been a number of places on the Eastside (of Seattle) to do so. So I quickly log on to Comcast's website to get the closest address only to find that they've revamped things and the closest dropoff location is in Auburn WA, an optimistic 30+ minutes away by car. Did I mention that moving is a pain? So this frustrated me to say the least and I vented a wee bit on Twitter about it.
That's where it got interesting. Within 10 minutes of my tweet, @ComcastMelissa had replied with info I hadn't found on their website that solved my problem and frankly left me feeling lots better about Comcast and less frustrated. Win for me, Win for Comcast.
It got me thinking however- I'm a bit unusual for my generation in that I use Twitter all the time. I'm a geek having worked in Technology since the 80's. I'm more Digital Native than Digital Immigrant (also see Don Tapscott's "Grown Up Digital" for a really interesting work on the Net Generation). But what about "most people"? How would they have found the information? It wasn't readily apparent on Comcast's website on the Service Locations page.
@ComcastMelissa's response to me saved the day but why isn't the reference to her, and what I assume are her Social Media Customer Service colleagues - what does one call these folks?, linked clearly and directly on the website where it's needed???
My guess is that the Social Media team reports somewhere other than to the CIO/CTO. It clearly isn't integrated with the website UX team and more importantly whoever's responsible for the total customer experience. Without throwing stones at Comcast's CIO and CMO, someone in that organization should clearly be viewing and reviewing the big picture to make sure that from the customer's perspective it's all seamless. This is the kind of stuff that moves the CIO from engine room operator to strategic thinker in the view of the CEO and Board. It's the brand reinforcement that all CMO's work to achieve.
It was also an instructive lesson for me as the COO for Kidelicious, the startup I'm a co-founder of and working on building to launch. We all tend to get a bit siloed focusing on the UX for the e-commerce platform or the social media experience but who's stepping back and making sure it all works to serve the customer and reinforce the brand? Get it right and you delight your customers or at least lower their frustration level. Get it wrong and you undo a lot of careful work.
Action items especially for CIO/CTO folks who still struggle with getting that coveted "seat at the table".
- Go home and play customer. What's the response time like for your website? Does it behave the same on every major browser (and if you aren't using a Mac, find one and check at least Safari)?
- Call your customer service numbers and see how long it takes to talk with someone who can actually do something.
- Tweet something and see if anyone "hears" it and responds.
- Then figure out how to make it better.