I had a recent experience that made me really think about the value of what great community management means. Here is a series of events I had with Pandora (a company that I love and have always been brand loyal to).
1. As I was listening to Pandora, one of Pandora’s many ads popped up and said if I fill out a quick survey, I would get 4 hours of uninterrupted music. I decided, what the heck, I will spend a couple seconds so I don’t have to hear the stupid ads for a while.
I completed the survey which was confirmed by Pandora. Then what happened? I turned my radio back on and the next song I listened to is followed by another disrupting ad. Yuck. NOT COOL!
2. I tweeted this…
Quickly (5-10min after previous tweet) followed by:
Considering this timeline and the size of Pandora, I was very impressed and satisfied by their great community management. I was happy I had great interaction with the company, which I actually didn’t even expect in the first place, and there seemed to be some type of progress with my little complaint. Lesson #1 here, real-time feedback is a great way to make your company to stand out. People do not expect remarkable customer service, so when you are able to give feedback to your community in real-time, the surprise puts your company above every other one.
But the problem here is the follow up. Today is the 19th of September and I haven’t received any status update. What seemed to be potentially a remarkable act in community management and customer service was followed by a pure let down and disappointment by 11 days of nothing. I have turned from what seemed to be a very special customer into a forgotten one. I understand that a company the size of Pandora has many complaints they must deal with daily, but it doesn’t work in their favor if they are constantly engaging with their community in real-time but lack the follow through. The quick responses when I was not expecting anything, raised the bar on my level of expectation of the solution. I actually thought their might be one! I figured if this company was so dedicated towards hearing what their community had to say about them, they must truly value great follow through to create extremely loyal customers.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. The sad thing here is if they wouldn’t have tweeted me back in a matter of minutes, I wouldn’t have expected that much more to happen. Yes I would have been disappointed that they didn’t follow through with what they promised, but I would have moved on. Instead, I have been disappointed twice. Once with the ad survey and now with no follow through on their great community management. Lesson #2 about community management is that follow through is far more important than anything else. Great community management is more than engaging with your community but it is actually following through on the feedback they provide. Zappos wouldn’t be known for their customer service if all they did was engage with their customers. They provide solutions on everything they say, and then give more. If you are going to talk the talk, you BETTER walk the walk.