The Web and the blogosphere can be incredible tools to connect with customers and prospects. Unfortunately, if you’re not doing a good job your customers can use these same tools to let the world know.
AOL found this out recently when one of their customers tried to cancel his account. Vincent Ferrari had heard horrible stories about AOL’s “customer support” so he decided to record his conversation.
After 15 minutes he finally got through to a human being. The call resulted in something that’s a cross between Dante’s 9th ring of hell and Orwell’s 1984. The king from Monty Python’s Holy Grail had an easier time explaining to the palace guards to keep his son locked in his room than Ferrari had explaining that he just wanted to cancel the account. “I don’t know how I can make this any clearer, just cancel my account,” he says time and again.
Ferrari put the recording on his blog, but was overwhelmed by the social bookmarking traffic. You can now listen to the whole painful affair at Putfile.com. When something’s this painful or funny, it’s very likely to go viral.
That virus got Ferrari on a number of talk shows and got him an official apology from AOL.
The lesson here: treat your customers with respect, because they just might be blogging.
By the way, if you think Ferrari is just a crank about customer service, read this recent post on his experience with Audible.