In last two days, I learnt a lot about – how NOT to manage social media account, specially of a big corporate. Net4 which is ASIA’S leading provider of Web Hosting & Domain Names disappointed a lot in its handling of “service outage” issue specially through its social media entities. First the facts. The outage happened on the morning of July 3. The domains were down and the web mail servers stopped working. There was no formal announcement till noon. When the customers which I presume must be “existing paying customers” raised hue and cry about the same, their social media team first posted a standard electronic reply of “apologies for the inconvenience and the issue will be resolved soon”. When the customers repeatedly asked about expected time of resolution, they were given the below reply:
“An unexpected voltage surge from Chennai Electricity Board today morning resulted in failure of some connectivity devices. Corrective measures for the same have been taken and services are back to normal. If you still have any concerns please feel to open a trouble ticket via your panel at net4.in or call us on : 1800-108-4444
Thank you for your patience!
The catch here was – the services were not restored. No wonder this post backfired with many aggrieved customers posting comments after comments that
Why there was no communication about the same since morning.
Secondly, despite the services NOT being restored why a misleading status was posted.
Thirdly, their toll free number was a sham, it came busy throughout the day.
Many complained about it, yet no one cared to pacify the aggrieved customers.
Now, something magical happened, the next morning. Both the posts disappeared. This means both the posts were deleted.
Instead, we were greeted with a new status.
There was a massive voltage surge from the electricity board yesterday, due to which, as a precautionary measure, we were forced to bring down some of our infrastructure components.
We would like to apologize for the inconvenience you may have incurred due to the downtime. Corrective measures for the same have already been taken and services are back to normal. You would be aware that this is one of the rare infrastructure outage occurrences from our side for a very long time. Our endeavor is to always ensure the highest possible uptime and we have always lived up to our commitments.
If you still have any concerns please feel to open a trouble ticket via your panel at www.net4.in or call us on: 1800-108-4444
When I asked them why the previous statuses were deleted? I was told their previous status had some factual errors in it. I further asked what was the factual error in it? No one cared to reply till the time of writing this, which is essentially eight hours after that post. Here is the link of the conversation, unless they delete this too (by the time you read it).
It seems that, social media team at Net4 has a brief to use these accounts only to brag about their achievements. They don’t seem to care about their customers because many customer keep complaining about their services yet no one bothers to reply.
Worldwide, Social media is an extension of your customer service or public relation and you work to convert your critics into fans. Last week we posted about how corporate can learn from UP Police twitter account on converting your sharpest critics into fans. It is an art. That is what social media platforms are made for. You accept your faults, you calm down agitated customers and keep sharing important updates in a timely manner.
Online businesses can have service outages from time to time, however, their social media accounts are expected to give accurate and timely updates.
In case anyone else ever find themselves in such a soup, please use this example and keep in mind the following lessons
Accept your fault when you are wrong.
Don’t try to act smart. You can’t fool your customers.
Don’t remove a post just because it has lots of criticism on it. This will cast a shadow on your company’s transparency.
Use the social media platforms for an honest interaction. Those who criticize aren’t your enemies, specially, your paying customers!