Customer Service – How Social Networking makes the job that much harder.

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*Updated 03-13 -08. See Below

Snafu.  Freedictionary.com defines it as “A chaotic or confused situation”. The word SNAFU is an acronym, in which most of it I cannot decode here, so I’ll fudge it a bit. Situation Normal All Fouled Up.

If you were to go through a snafu a few years ago with a company, you would most likely grumble to your friends and family and then move on – Little impact on that. However, in this day and age, a Snafu can really come back to hurt. With Social Networking rising 47 percent year to year (according to Nielsen Netratings), this can really give companies a tough time if problems arise. But still, can social networking cause a company hardship because of a single or series of transactions?

Here is how this question came about: On Thursday I purchased a new video from Tiger Direct. I wanted to upgrade the memory and get a dual video DVI (my current one is dual ). I did a search, but somewhere in the search things got messed up and I mistakenly bought a lower end . I needed a video , so I was intending to still purchase through this route. I had collected the correct product number, got my confirmation email and gave them a call.

The first person said the order is not in their yet. Kind of weird, yet I accepted the answer and decided to call back in about 30 minutes like he suggested. The second call was a little weirder, for the person could cancel the order and fix the order, but he wanted to try and “Talk” me into keeping the miss-ordered card.  I was floored that someone actually was trying to do this. After all, is it really his place? We did get the card ordered and I moved on.

However, I never received a confirmation email. I didn’t have a tracking number. The only way I knew something had changed was because my bank statement said that Paypal took out an additional amount from Tiger Direct.

Now since I never received confirmation, that Monday morning I called to find out if I was getting the card today and what my tracking order number would be. The response floored me even more – the person at the other end said they have been going through some issues and they could not give me a tracking number. When I inquired, I was told that the company had database issues since last Tuesday and orders wouldn’t update in their systems. I got confused, because I ordered the initial video card on the 5th, and I received confirmation, however the corrected order I placed an hour later never showed up. They then told me the system would be back online on Wed (48 hours from now).

I got off the and started thinking how odd that was. They couldn’t give me a tracking number although my order supposedly shipped, but I don’t know when I am going to see it. It could come today, then again, it might not have been shipped yet.

The first thing I said to myself was:

“Wow. If someone had a Social Networking and was upset, you would most likely see that story on the net. ”

We’ve heard of people that have been fired over their Social Networking habits. However, has social networking from another source caused a person to lose a job or a company to rethink strategy? In a direct way – not yet, however, in an indirect way – that’s a big yes. Some companies block MySpace and Facebook sites, I’ve even worked at a job where it was detrimental those sites don’t get used, so they had a strict “Surf and get fired” policy. In the area of work it was in, I can not only understand that, I would condone it.

I would guess in the next few years a post is going to make a big impact on a company because the Customer agent gave poor or because the company was not living up to their end of the bargain. And the most interesting part is when an article is written, it can get latched onto and others start blogging about it. The of one all of a sudden becomes the of many.

Social Networking will take over the if it hasn’t done so already. They say that if you want a successful site, you should have some type of blog. Instead of the Print to Mouth media that we used to have, it will turn to “Six Degrees of Separation” or “SDS reporting”.  As for Tiger Direct, I am not upset with them right now – just a little perturbed.  This Snafu will cost me some time if my order is not here today, but I’ll get over it. I won’t avoid Tiger Direct – I think they have a lot of great deals and I’ve ordered from them in the past with no issues.

I debated whether to use Tiger Direct’s name in this article. I decided to because I think it adds a level of validity to it. Every company should stand behind who they are and what they do – and be able to understand they are the ones identified so they can rebut or correct the action. All I of Tiger Direct is to get this Snafu corrected.

*UPDATE – On Wed, when the item didn’t arrive, I called support to find out what happened. The CS said no alternate card was ordered. After talking for a while, they offered a card that was not as powerful as the one I was suppose to be getting, so I decided to cancel the order and go a different route. I found a better video card for a cheaper somewhere else.

Like I said – I will still do transactions in the future with TD. One bad transaction does not mean to boycott. This time it’s “Shame on you”.

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