Hootsuite Does NOT Want My Money (A Lesson In Customer Loyalty)

Good morning!  It's amazingly….*Saturday*!  And that means time with the family! 

Yay! 

Time with the mooses! 

Yay! 

Time with the Twitter Budgies! 

Yay!

And time for wondering just why…..

Hootsuite does NOT want my money.

WAH!

Quite frankly, it's kinda sorta baffling to me as to why they're choosing to handle the fact I cannot give them money and become their customer for life.  But you're in luck, wondrous reader, for like everything in life, I've decided to turn my real-life experience into a story that will both amuse you…and give you excellent take-aways you can apply to your own business online.

So let's begin!

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far far away (ie, 7 days ago at my computer but my chair was moved 1/2 an inch)…

It was a day just like every other mundane ho-hum day.  Wrasslin' with mooses, saving lonely coffee from languishing silently in the coffeepot, writing a 70 page ebook in 3 days….the usual.

But then.

Then! 

THEN!!!!!

I received an email from the folks over at Guerrilla Job Hunting, asking me if I'd write a chapter for their upcoming book in April of 2011.

"Neato nifty!" thought I.  And so I began to research just what my unique, never-before-seen, incredibly amazing, thoroughly glorious new insights I could add.

The good news is that what I came up with I really never *have* seen discussed online before!  Yay!

The eh? news is that while researching, I was reminded about Twitter and blog feeds.  Don't ask how I got to that bizarre topic; my mind at times is parallel-processing 17 different ideas at the same time.  🙂

Anywhos, I realized I needed a good RSS-to-Twitter feeder.  I'm currently using Social Oomph, mind you, but having heard about so many good things regarding HS, decided to check it out meself.

I signed up last Saturday, checked it out, saw the monthly fee was $5 and said to meself:

"Jeepers Self, I can certainly afford $5!  Let's get right to it!"

So I went to my account settings and saw:

Now, flap my earlobes and call me Dumbo, but ….

That just plumb did *not* make any sense to me.

  • Was I being more clueless than a zombie master who demanded to compete in Project Runway?
  • Was I being more blind than a race horse galloping down a pitch black tunnel while wearing a sleep mask?

Well?

Was I?

The sheer angst that suffused my very being with these questions!  I *had* to find the answer and I *had* to find it now!

So!  I immediately blogged about my issue and DEMANDED HELP RIGHT AWAY!

No no, of course I didn't do that!  That would have been unfair to the max; at that time, I hadn't even tried to solve the issue on my own.

Thus, I researched Hootsuite's collection of help files, and came across:

How to Upgrade/Downgrade my HootSuite Account

To wit:

  • 1) Sign in to your HootSuite account
  • 2) Click on the owl on the top left
  • 3) Hover over Settings
  • 4) Click on Account
  • 5) Click on Upgrade/Modify Account

Sounds peachy to me!

So I revisited my account setting and lo and behold…they were still the same.  No changes! 

I could only cancel my account – I could not upgrade it at all.

Methinks that's when the petunia-frosting began to make an appearance.

But!  These things do happen and alas, the world does NOT revolve around me!  So I did the next best thing – I entered a support ticket.

 


Can;t upgrade my account

Barbara Ling
Oct 23 04:06

How do I upgrade my account? I checked out

http://help.hootsuite.com/entries/267943-how-to-upgrade-downgrade-my-hootsuite-account

and there IS no 'modify' account – only 'Cancel' my account.

Thanks,

Barbara


This was on Saturday.

Now, I myself always do try to answer support questions on the weekend meself, but I wasn't too surprised when I had to wait until Monday for a response.  And it was:

 


Hi Barbara! When did you create your HootSuite account?

      In advance, thank you for your response.

Oct-25 2010 11:39.


So I dutifully answered and also provided the snapshot of what I was seeing:

 


      Saturday. Thanks!

Oct-25 2010 11:44.

Here's what my account button looks like. There's a Cancel but not an upgrade.
    *
          o
            Snap13.jpg Snap13.jpg (quick view)

Oct-25 2010 13:40.


On the next day, I heard back!

     


Howdy! So to confirm, you had never used HootSuite before October 23, 2010?

      In advance, thank you for your response.

Oct-26 2010 11:16.


This response floored me.

Why?

Certainly it was polite!

Certainly it was trying to find answers!

BUT!

It did *zero* to resolve *my* immediate needs as a future customer.

You see, I've recently been reading books about customer care, customer loyalty and the like…and was in the middle of enjoying Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless by Jeff Gitomer.

This book….is brilliant.  Insightful.  Highly recommended!

One of the gargantuan take-aways I internalized from the book was a customer doesn't CARE about YOU or YOUR problems – they want THEIR resolutions  and solutions ASAP.

Glory be and saints be praised, I was living that very same situation!

Fancy that.

See…

I *wanted* to upgrade my account.   It's not my problem (it really isn't) that Hootsuite ran into a glitch.  I was simply the lucky recipient of it…just like it's not *my customer's* problem if they cannot download the products they've purchased from me!

So I started asking myself.

What would I have done if I was in Hootsuite's position?

The answer was pretty simple – I'd have:

  • Apologized for the problem
  • Empathized with the problem
  • Manually upgraded the customer myself while the problem was being solved, and then:
  • Make that upgrade free of charge, to leave the customer with good feelings from dealing with me.

I actually do that meself, you know.  If my customers run into any issues with my products, I'll either give another product for free, offer to refund the customers money, anything that basically says:

"I'm *really* sorry you went thru this and to make up for it please accept the following gift."

Life's too short NOT to empathize with how others perceive the situation.

But I digress!

After I received that response, I wrote:

     


I believe that is correct – I believe I signed up for the account on Saturday. Am I misremembering things? I tried it out but methinks from a different email address 1.5 years ago.

      What am I missing?

Oct-26 2010 11:51.


 

The next day, I received:

     


Thanks for your assistance and patience while we resolve your issue.

      As this is a rather unique problem, we've escalated your ticket to review with the development team. As such, the response may take longer than usual. Be assured however, that we are investigating your situation and we'll update you when we've sorted out the problem.

      Thank you again for your patience and assistance in improving HootSuite.

Oct-27 2010 16:36.


*Excuse me?*

Let's read that again:

"Thank you again for your patience and assistance in improving HootSuite."

That was not *my goal whatsoever*.

I didn't WANT to improve Hootsuite.

I just wanted to give them my money and get my account upgraded!

That was it.

That was all.

But the response I received conveyed to me that MY concerns were of less importance than those of ants with asthma who inhabit the Superbowl field while it's being ruthlessly debugged.

So I responded:

     


Alright, thanks.

      Any chance I can get a complimentary upgrade to professional then?

Oct-28 2010 07:27.


Hey, you never know unless you ask.

That was 2 days ago, and needless to say, I have yet to hear back from them.

WAH!

To be honest, it's pretty funny (just like deleting your entire hard drive before giving your Blogworld presentation and neglecting to make a backup is pretty funny in an agonizingly painful sort of way) that I experienced exactly what Jeffrey Gitomer wrote about in his book.

But let's turn this into your advantage, shall we?

What are the takeaways I can give you from my experiences?

They are as follows.

1.)  Whenever your customers run into problems, keep THEIR issues as YOUR focus.

Yes, you might have to hack your products for one week running to get the whole thing figured out…but in the meanwhile, solve THEIR concerns FIRST. 

Give your product away for free.

If you don't want to do that, give them at the very least a partial refund to make up for the inconvenience they experienced.

2.) Apologize and empathize. 

Sometimes just knowing they've been HEARD can calm down a customer considerably.  Sure, it might not be your fault (it really may not!) but again, holding onto that approach offers a decayed toenail's worth of benefits.

3.)  Don't take things personally.

Frustrated customers can often be rude.  Heck, we all can!  But remember, you might NOT have the benefit of a face-to-face conversation, phone call or the like…and so cannot see/hear the nuances that might be present.

Those three points are heavily emphasized in the Customer Loyalty book too!  After all…life's too short to get pissed off.  Do what you can to de-escalate the situation – it can turn around things more than you can ever imagine.

In closing

Hootsuite, if you're reading, I regret you do not want my money. 

And my readers…do check out everything by Jeffrey Gitomer – there are some awesome gems indeed:

What about you?  What's your take?  Have you ever experienced such a thing, and if so, how was it resolved?

Enjoy,

Barbara Ling

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