Update – Hootsuite kindly responded in the comments.
Many of you know that I have co-hosted a weekly chat on Customer Service since late 2009. With over 77,000 tweets since April in this chat (#custserv), we’ve discussed much about best customer service practices across industries.
Early this week, I had an experience with Hootsuite, that left me disillusioned, mildly dissatisfied and a bit cynical about their Customer Service Department.
I’ve been using Hootsuite for over half a year, to manage both personal and client social media (one of the tools). I love it’s functionality, especially being able to group accounts/streams into tabs.
During the time I’ve been using Hootsuite, there have been several times a day where messages would not post to Facebook personal and fanpage accounts. I’ve dealt with it. I’ve known that they have an API issue with Facebook for months.
I’ve been a paying subscriber since they moved to a subscription format.
Beginning Sunday night, however, it all crashed. I kept getting session key errors and fails to post messages. I spent about eight hours between Sunday night and Tuesday researching their Help FAQ, user community blogs, etc., seeking an answer. Finally, fed up and frustrated, I reached out on Monday afternoon. They got back to me on Tuesday, mid-day. Here’s the exchange:
And that is it. No further interaction from Hootsuite.
Here are my points:
- There’s a broken, or at least mildly unsustainable, brand promise issued by Hootsuite; that one will be able to manage postings across social networks, including Facebook, with ease and dependability. See this snapshot.
- When a social media tech company has 1000s of paying customers spread around the world, having a help desk that only operates nine hours a day on Pacific time isn’t providing good customer service. What would that cost be? Hiring two reps, one for swing shift and the other for graveyard?
- I had stated early in the conversation that this issue was repeating and that I had used all of their existing information over the previous months. They then referred me to a blogpost from November (which I’d already read and stated I’d read).
- The end of the dialogue was weak. Simply congratulating a customer that they’ve done everything suggested, and leaving the customer frustrated – what? It doesn’t feel like good customer service practice.
My point in blogging this is a deep desire to better the practice of customer service across industries. I’m curious to hear what others think; if you would have handled it differently, if you think Hootsuite’s customer service was adequate or excellent (or abysmal) and any other opinions.
Meanwhile, to Hootsuite, I’m not satisfied. I’m not angry either. But the exchange and your Customer Service response felt trivialized; almost a brush off. I’ll keep using it and paying for it, but if another product appears with equal or better features, I’ll probably switch.
Jeffrey J Kingman, CEO, Chalkboarder