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Why Brands Need to Take Social Media Seriously

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I was exchanging some thoughts and ideas with UTalkMarketing about Android and Apple the other day; we weren't even mentioning any particular handset made in out tweets. Then we realised one of the tweeps is having an issue with their HTC handset purchased from Carphone Warehouse a few months ago; but extremely unhappy about the businesses' over-promises, and as usual, under-delivery. They purchased a HTC Desire Z under a long contract from Carphone Warehouse about ten months ago, but soon after the purchase problems arose (which seems no one is willing to take ownership of)!

They contacted HTC direct in April 2011 and the manufacturer advised the problem is not with the hardware and it is software matter. HTC promised to get back to the customer, but now we're in October and HTC hasn't yet got in touch...Is that because they lost the contact details they did jot down while they were on the phone or maybe something different?

They then went to Carphone Warehouse with the faulty phone in number of occasions for repair and as the problem didn't get fixed, the customer asked for replacement but because they didn't have the handset in stock anymore they couldn't replace the handset. Carphone Warehouse simply denied any further help simply because the handset wasn't in their distribution centre and they didn't know whether they get any future delivery of HTC Desire Z.

How else Carphone Warehouse could make an unhappy customer furious and disloyal to the brand HTC, they did a good job in this though!

This friend of mine then decided to update their HTC software, but as there's probably a fundamental problem with this model, nothing changed; actually yes something changed - my fellow tweep is not using a more traditional phone with the sim-card they meant to use with their HTC Smartphone! Because of the handset was constantly overheating soon after unplugging from charger; apart from the unusual long time took the handset to be charged.

Luckily this is not a phone for business purposes, otherwise a part from the level of frustration caused, they would experience massive client dissatisfaction and loss of earning.

But do Carphone Warehouse and HTC care about such bad customer experience? I doubt, because if they did, they would have done something to prevent a few days of conversation on Twitter and RTs and now this blog post. Those hours of talking on the phone and exchanging emails with the so called "customer service" guys are also the hours the customer lost, who will compensate for their loss of time?

It is however interesting to see after the conversations on Twitter in the past few days, HTC US and Carphone Warehouse care just jumped in (after 10 months of raising concerns by the customer) to make sure they drag the conversation offline once again; obviously for "brand reputation purposes" and not necessarily for customer s satisfaction reasons.

Thanks to Social Media, voice of customers are just begun to be heard - but not by brands but by other Social Media users (to leave brands with no choice other than genuinely get involved). Now it's the time to wait and see how Carphone Warehouse and HTC are going to resolve this issue.

The person who has this software problem with their HTC Smartphone bought from Carphone Warehouse is working in customer service and this is what they have to say:

"I work in customer service, so I understand that if a customer has a problem they want the quickest and swiftest resolution so that they can get on with their day."

Watch this space, for the reaction received from the owner of Carphone Warehouse and one of the UK's leading online marketing journals.