Don’t ever doubt the power of social media.
If you read my blog last week – Thursday – you saw the power of social media and online working. As noted in that story, I had a tremendously bad experience with AAA. Basically, I feel like I got hosed and ignored, when waiting for a company to come change my flat tire.
As noted, too, we were all capable of changing the tire, but it was cold and, reality is, If something is paid for, I expect service when it’s needed.
The one thing that had fired me up quite a bit was that the third person – yes, I spoke with three people that day – told me he would file an electronic complaint and that somebody would be in touch with me in 48 hours.
It never happened. So when I wrote the initial post, it was more than 100 hours later. I wrote it and went to bed, with it set to publish at 6 a.m. Eastern.
Oh, yeah, I also made sure to tweet AAA at the time it published.
It didn’t take long for a response from AAA. At 7:31 a.m., I received this response via Twitter:
@softball29 We apologize for the negative experience. Could you please DM us your member# and we will have management follow-up with you.
— Community Relations (@AAACares) January 9, 2014
Who knew all I had to do was to write a bad review of something, tweet it and this would happen? So, I DMd my membership number and went along with my day.
At 11:37 a.m., I received a phone call from Nils, a manager with AAA – somebody who had been with the company for 37 years. He was in the New York office, though, and had received the message from the national office.
Something was finally going to happen.
Anyway, he said he was trying to figure out what happened in hopes of making sure it never happened again. I expressed my displeasure in the service and received apologies – to which he also acknowledged don’t count as much when somebody went through what I did. I also noted that we were more than capable of changing the tire, but it was about principles. He fully understood my concerns and told me he wanted to pay for my membership for the following year, to make up for it.
He also actually thanked me for writing the post I did because, if not, he might have never known about this.
Here’s the kicker from the initial call (and one follow up as I had to call him back with the number of one my friends, being that’s whose phone we used for the initial call):
- The first person I talked to wasn’t listed as ever talking to me (that was on a different number, so may come up with the other number).
- He was looking to see why the service station wouldn’t go.
- He also was trying to figure out why nobody called me.
- The last person I talked to didn’t file the digital complaint, as he said he would do.
I asked Nils, too, to call me back to let me know what happened. I don’t care about people’s names or anything and I hope – truthfully – if these are competent people, they don’t lose their jobs. I know how tough it can be in that situation. That being said, one needs to realize what they are dealing with when you are handling calls like this. It isn’t a joke. Real people are out there, broken down and need help. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be calling.
If you can’t handle the job, you shouldn’t be doing it. And if one isn’t trained well enough, they shouldn’t be live on the system.
He got back to me and explained what he could piece together. The only question mark was that first call — when I got put back in the queue. He couldn’t seem to find it, so that — for some reason — is out there.
What I fully appreciate here — and why I’ll give AAA the benefit of the doubt that this was a rare thing (to be fair, until this time, I had gotten extremely good service from AAA), is how honest Nils was with me and how he quickly made sure to note this was AAA’s fault and they were taking steps to make sure it didn’t happen again. Would it help me now? No. Is it nice to know they are reacting? Yes.
Apparently, what happened, is as follows:
The person who told me he was sending somebody never actually sent somebody. In other words, when I called back an hour later to wonder where the service station was — and was told by that person that the station said they didn’t have anybody available — It’s because they never got the initial call. Therefore, with the calls they already had, they couldn’t come. So not their fault one bit.
We were sitting on the side of an Interstate and nobody was called, let alone coming. That’s downright scary. Hopefully it’s found out why this person didn’t make the call.
Finally, the final person I spoke to never sent through the complaint, or I was assured I would have received a phone call.
There was definitely a communication breakdown here. Whether the service station wasn’t called because of some technical thing, purposely or something else, it should never happen. I go back to this — think if it’s somebody who can’t change their own tire and need that help. It’s messing with real life. So if I was a bit upset or brash, it was because of the first person who put me back into the queue and because somebody didn’t understand what I meant when I said a mile past an onramp.
No matter if you get mad or not, remember I’m the paying customer. I’m already frustrated. It’s not personal. It’s not right (and I honestly don’t think I got upset until I had to explain where I was more than once when I was pretty direct with where I was in the first place), but I’ve been in customer service and realize, sometimes, you need to be able to deal with all situations and reactions.
As noted before, hopefully this was a rare thing.
And, AAA did everything is could to make it right with me. I appreciate the one-year membership. I appreciate the manager calling me back more than once to tell me what happened. I appreciate AAA admitting wrongdoing here. And I appreciate the fact that we were able to do something without anything bad happening.
Hopefully something like this doesn’t happen again because you never know what kind of things can happen to somebody when services aren’t delivered as promised.
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