Twitter Won’t Make You Suck Less. Ask Comcast

October 21, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Social Media

social media bandaidI giggled when I read TechCrunch this morning. I just couldn’t help it. Here’s why.

There are A LOT of businesses trying to elbow their way into social media right now. We get people contacting us every day asking for social media and ORM strategies to help put out the fires that ignite around them. They think that creating a Twitter account or being active on Facebook will help them “listen” and “engage”. And it will. But listening alone won’t do anything to fix the core issue. And the issue is often that their product simply sucks. That’s what they need to fix.

Which brings us to Comcast.

If you saw TechCrunch this morning you read the post about how Twitter changed the culture of Comcast. How “Famous Frank” helped the company become more responsive to customers and altered the conversation. He’s right; they have changed the conversation. Now when people talk about how badly Comcast sucks, they preface it with how responsive the company is. Comcast hasn’t learned anything. They’re just shelling out more bandaids.

Often – used, dirty bandaids.

Last year Rebecca Kelley shared an experience she had with Comcast where they refused to cancel her NBA League Pass because the season had already started. Like any red-blooded American, Becs went to Twitter to express her rage after attempts to phone the company had failed. The moment she hit Twitter, the situation was resolved and her account was credited. She was placated. Happy, even. Until this year when they charged her for the exact same package she had canceled a year ago.

comcastfail

There’s a difference between hearing and forgetting, and listening and responding. Comcast hasn’t learned or fixed anything.

My history with men has taught me that a guy can only cook you dinner once to say, “I’m sorry”. After that, he’s not sorry. He just knows that cooking you dinner gets him out of trouble. Comcast has been cooking you dinner for a year and a half.

You’re probably cooking a lot of people dinner, too.

Don’t use social media as a bandaid. Instead, learn what’s not currently working in your organization and what people want to see. And then, for the love of God, FIX IT! That is the point of all the listening – to improve on what you’re doing.  To learn what people want so that you can give it to them. You don’t get a gold star for being in the conversation, you get MONEY for creating a product or service that people actually want to use. Increasing your ROI is the goal behind social media. Not unicorns. Do not forget that. Put it on a plaque if you need to.

People want you to be human, but they don’t need to be your friend. At the end of the day, they just want you to give them a good product, something that they can trust. That should be your end goal in everything that you do. Collecting the information that you need to improve your business and what you offer people. Let’s not be morons. No one likes Zappos because they’re engaging with people. We like them because they offer a great product. Yes, we choose them over the other online shoe retailers because they’re human and we relate to them, but they can be as human as they want, if the product sucks, you’re not buying from them.

Do what Comcast hasn’t and learn. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how well or how quickly you respond to your customers if they’re still not satisfied with what you’re giving them. A crap product is crap, regardless of how well it engages with you.

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