I have an existing account with Go Daddy, the huge, internet provider. I wanted to upgrade it from a standard package to a de-luxe package so that I could put a sub domain on it which would then have a clean url. Straightforward enough.
I telephoned customer services and ordered the upgrade. I was told that I couldn’t do that on the account I had specified because the server it was on was too old to handle the upgrade (hey, I just have the account, it’s your server), but they noticed that I had another account which was on a more recent server and could cope with the upgrade. It was not an ideal outcome for me as I intended to get rid of that other account when its expiry date came up. The operator convinced me it was the easiest route to take, otherwise I would have to do all sorts of complicated tech stuff to accomplish what I originally wanted to do with the preferred account (wait a minute, aren’t YOU the provider?). I was then told it could take 24 to 72 hours to implement the upgrade.
After 72 hours had elapsed, I still couldn’t access the control panel. Another call to customer services revealed that my request had got ’stuck’ and that they would have to re-initiate the request. Again, I was told that this would take up to 24 hours to take effect.
After 24 hours had elapsed, nothing had changed on my account. Another telephone call and another different technical support person put me on hold while he investigated the issue. He returned with news that he had referred the matter to a different technical department, which I inferred, was higher up the food chain. I was told to wait up to 24 hours for a result.
You can tell where this is going, so I won’t bore you with any more details and get to the interesting bit.
After nine days of waiting, I posted a Tweet about the issue, mentioning Go Daddy, and adding a ‘fail’ hash-tag. Almost immediately (well, certainly less than 24 hours) I noticed a tweet with my name on it from Go Daddy. It read;
GoDaddy @ivortymchak Is there anything I can help with? If you can DM the domain name and details, I’d be happy to look into your issue. ^Cj
I was half expecting this, because any organisation that is on the ball (and especially if they are internet linked) will have somebody monitoring mentions of itself and reporting back to headquarters so that the company can assess if most of it is good or bad. What I wasn’t expecting though, was an offer of help. My thought process explored the ramifications of this move.
Is the offer of help a tacit acceptance that their regular customer support is in some way inadequate? Because if it is, complaining customers might as well turn directly to social media first, rather than their dedicated telephone help-lines.
Do they respond more to customers who are tech savvy? By that, I mean, use social media. Presumably, they would do this because a bad experience with Go Daddy would get communicated to more people via social media and would be read by those people who also had a disproportionate influence with other internet users. This would be a kind of class structure then, first class for social media users and second class for non users.
It reminded me of those investigative television programmes where they take up customers’ issues and get the offending company to rectify the problem before the next broadcast. If you are one of the people featured in the tv programme, great, but if you are one of the many hundreds who aren’t, tough, keep telephoning the useless help-line.
I didn’t use the offer of help from the Go Daddy Tweet in the end. My issue was eventually resolved through the regular telephone support channel (which, in all fairness, was always courteous and well meaning each time I did contact them).
The social media contact from Go Daddy could well have been just a different facet of the same support staff that I had contacted using the telephone, I don’t know. But it is interesting how a well intentioned gesture can produce unexpected outcomes in its perception.