Is it possible to love and loathe a company at the same time? In my recent experience with Sirius/XM, that is certainly the case. And that's what happens if you are not presenting the same face at every customer touch point. I have found two sides of their customer service. I have had horrible experiences with their customer call center and just had a fabulous experience with their customer service through social media.
That's a danger for companies these days. Many start using social media and the social team understands the customer dynamic. They create a real-time, helpful experience. But if that kind of experience isn't duplicated at other customer touch points, you're schizophrenic at best and complete liars at worst. You end up sending mixed messages to customers and they end up not knowing who you are and which side of you to believe.
Let's take my case with Sirius/XM. First off, I love the product. Given the state of regular broadcast radio and my love of discovering eclectic, unheard music, Sirius is the perfect answer. Being a total fantasy football geek, I love the various football channels they provide, too. But my customer experience before last week was horrible. And I'm not the only one who's had that experience.
It all started with me seeing a tweet from my friend Therran, saying his experience with their call center was so horrible, they had lost his business. I tweeted back to him that I had similar experiences and was no longer a customer, either.
Three tweets into the conversation, we were both contacted by Sirius through their customer service twitter handle @SXM_Help. She identified herself as Kate and asked if there was anything she could do to help. I gave her a brief description of my issue and she sent me an email address, asking that I send them an email with full details.
I sent them an email detailing my issue at the end of my work day. I got an email back right away saying someone named Randy would contact me. The next morning, I got a call and explained my problem, which involved me paying for a year of service for a radio I no longer had. In less than an hour, he called me back and had credited me a full refund of money owed.
I felt real good about Kate and Randy and my whole experience. Fantasy football is around the corner and I thought about resigning up for the service. Then I thought about the multiple horrible experiences I had with their call center customer service. I'd like to think, with the good customer service I'd just gotten, they have fixed the problem. But Therran's recent experience tells me they haven't. So, what am I to do? Which side of the company will I be facing next time I have a problem?
That's the dilemma facing many companies these days. You can't just be great on twitter and facebook if you still suck in phone service or in-store experience. It has to be a full culture change. If you can't break down the silos, you at least need to put windows in them and a message system between them. Because, wherever it is you are interfacing with a customer last, will be the last impression they have of your brand. And if it conflicts with other experiences, what are they going to do?
I, myself, am not sure what to do. I'd like to have that great Sirius/XM product, but I'm just not sure it's worth the hassle. Perhaps if I only publicly tweet my problems instead of a private phone call things will be alright. For me anyway. If you're the company – see what's wrong with that statement?