Bad Customer Service, Under My Microscope:

Posted: June 12, 2008 in PR, Social Media
Tags: , , , ,

Update: less than 12 hours after posting — This post already comes up on the first page of Google results for the brand ZapSurvey. Great example of the power of blogs and the need for better customer support from marketers.

Update #2: Received an email from them late today claiming that my emails were stuck in their “spam folder”. Not sure what I feel about that one, but they did seem genuinely apologetic. Also, of course, they claimed that there was an issue on my end – yet, the QA in their interface indicated all systems go. So although there was a function burried in the interface that I should have changed, the faulty QA and display in their interface is a design flaw, which in combination with the lack of response caused many headaches for our readers and me yesterday. Moving on…

Boycott Zap SurveySo today I had a really bad experience with a vendor who I hereby warn the business community to never work with until they prove that they can resolve this issue and provide acceptable support and customer service. This is a sad story…for them…

I have used for over 2 years now. I have referred numerous clients to them because they offer a low cost online survey system. I have had billing issues with them at some point in the past, but nothing major enough to boycott them. Today they proved to me that either they are on the way out of business, or that they deserve to be.

I set up our annual reader survey for the niche media website I run, I performed a QA check as I normally would, tested the survey, it all worked fine. We included the request for readers to complete the survey as the main message in our weekly newsletter this morning. Due to a glitch in their system, the survey displayedas closed even though in their interface and the results of my initial QA showed the survey as working fine. I spent the entire day responding to hundreds of our readers (via mobile from airports) who wanted to take our survey, apologizing for this error. What a waste of my time, and the time of our readers! (Of course we are lucky to have such a loyal audience).

This is what our readers were welcomed to today:ZapSurvey Error!

I sent ZapSurvey an email alerting support to the problem after the second or third email came in regarding the error (I had thought the first one was a problem on the reader’s end). I have emailed them all day long – to both their support and sales email (there is no phone number for them). No response – not even an auto responder confirming the receipt of my email. They have broken every best practice. They have provided a poor level of support for a product that requires immediate attention when large group of consumers are at the receiving end of their glitch!

There was once a time when damage control was limited to the person you offended and their immediate friends & family. Social Media and the expanding fabric of the interconnected ecosystem makes damage control a much more difficult task. Note to marketers – make sure you get your sh#t together! One bad customer service situation can negate a significant amount of marketing investment, particularly when it happens to someone who can wield any level of influence.

So here is a public note to – have this resolved with an apology email in my inbox by the time I wake up tomorrow morning (6am EST), otherwise I will continue my barrage of communication alerting others about this experience. I have already moved the survey over to Constant Contact, but would be willing to continue to work with you if you make this right. What is my business and that of my referrals worth to you. We’ll see, won’t we? I train and consult businesses and agencies for a living, my reach has meaning to you. My blog gets picked up in Google News. Let’s see if you’re even listening. Obviously so far you haven’t been listening to my direct communication…

  1. miguel23 says:

    J, They probably don’t have it together enough to manage their customer support because their organization is not customer support oriented. Their customers are usually marketers so they don’t focus too much attention on it. Having said that, there is no excuse for what they did yesterday. For a marketer to an agency like zapsurvey, It should take no more than one email and one phone call to fix an issue like this.

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