“Money loves speed.” This phrase has been quoted so often that it’s difficult to know who should be credited for coining it. In an “always-on” digital world, it’s a saying that reminds us that we need to encourage fast action to make a sale, and to act fast when a customer needs help. Today, I contrast the customer service of two digital companies—both household names and both who serve direct marketers—and suggest four money-attracting recommendations.
One of the many aggravations for any customer is the inability to get fast answers from a company when help is needed. It’s especially a problem with online merchants. In the digital age, it’s too easy to hide behind an online form.
The contrast of service and responsiveness from Facebook and Google, in my experience, is significant. Both are digital mega-corporations, both provide advertising platforms for marketers, and both are tremendous resources of online metrics for direct marketers.
Facebook is a content marketer’s dream. Gain a fan following at little or no cost, share news, videos, how-to information and much more to your audience. In social media, your audience does your work of sharing and evangelizing for you. Facebook has evolved and requires “pay-to-play” if you want your fans to see your posts. In my view, it’s completely acceptable for Facebook to say that if you want your post to float toward the top of a newsfeed for a day that you’ll need to spend a few bucks.
I pay for posts often for an organization with a vibrant social media presence. The Facebook promoted post budget isn’t huge, but over a year’s time it runs into the thousands of dollars.
The rules for including an image with a promoted post allows up to 20 percent of the image to contain text. Recently, one of my promoted posts was rejected because Facebook technology image scanners thought there was more than the 20 percent amount allowed. But with the human eye, it was apparent looking at the photo and text that we were not over the allowed amount of text. Surely Facebook would reconsider, I thought. My credit card was ready to be charged.
The only way I’ve found to contact Facebook is via an online form. So I filled one out, asking them to reconsider the image for my promoted post expecting a quick response. After all, it took them only about 15 minutes to reject the ad, so surely as an “always-on” social media platform with thousands of employees, someone will respond quickly. Well, it took nearly 24 hours to get a reply to my request. They agreed with me and approved it. But by that point, the timeliness of the news item had passed and myself, and our followers, had moved on.
But then another rejection happened a few days ago. This time, a photo of sheet music didn’t fly. The culprit? Apparently treble clefs, staffs and rests. Once again the rejection was in minutes. I immediately asked Facebook to reevaluate it, thinking that my prior experience of 24 hours for a reply may have been a fluke. It wasn’t. The reply to this second request came in at 1:51 AM the next day, more than 24 hours later, with an approval. But again, the news cycle for this event had ended.
Bottom line: Facebook customer service is pokey. They are leaving advertising money on the table with an apparently cumbersome internal review process.
Contrast Facebook with Google. I manage Google Adwords for another client with a respectable budget. Google has assigned a representative to me. We talk. They rotate representatives every few months so I get different points of view and ideas. And if I need to contact Google, they offer a phone number for me to call where I can actually talk with someone in just minutes, enabling the ads to continue without delay.
Facebook repels money. Google attracts money.
Bottom line points for marketers:
- Give the customer options, such as phone, online forms, chat and more to contact you.
- Don’t hide behind an online form. Sure, a call center may be more expensive to operate, but it’s surely less expensive than losing sales.
- Be responsive. If you decide an online form is less expensive than a call center, fine. But then make sure you have a customer service representative available 24/7 who can quickly answer customer questions.
- Remove internal bureaucracy. Sometimes movement is brought to a halt because the internal process is too cumbersome.
In an “always-on” digital age, customers can be impatient. And for goodness sakes, if your business is in technology, act fast! It’s expected.
Money loves speed.