A few weeks ago, I received my fitbit. I saw this health startup pitch at TechCrunch50 in San Francisco and a few years later, finally had one of my own. I eagerly unpacked it, examining every piece of packaging as I pulled out my new little bite-sized gadget, excited to try it out. fitbit features a great online dashboard that displays your exercise and sleep data among many other fantastic features available online, once you’ve created your online profile. I had one minor issue and one more important issue right off the bat. The first issue: I couldn’t upload a profile photo to my account despite the fact it met all of the upload file criteria. The second issue: I wanted to add food I had eaten into their dashboard to calculate how many calories I had consumed and ran into aggravation finding what I needed in their database.
How did I handle this? Did I think to submit a support ticket? Nope. I complained about it on Twitter.
fitbit’s Vice President of Interactive reached out to me on Twitter (see screenshot above) asking if I had contacted support about my issues. What an idea! It had not even occurred to me. Why would I fill out a generic form about my issues that would be emailed/queued up for a support team to acknowledge, assign then respond to me when I could just shout about it on Twitter and get an immediate response? I was immediately shamed and responded that I would send my issue to their support team.
It took a week for me to finally get a response from fitbit but the interchange brought back to life the idea that our social media “customer service” is conditioning consumers to complain as loud as they can within their social media channels. We have become the toddlers of the internet, stamping our feet and raising our arms over our heads, crying out loud until mediated by our cable company, favorite online retailer or bank. Brands must find a way to strengthen and grow their customer service offering outside of these channels so consumers don’t run straight to them in order to find their immediate gratification lollipop. It’s inefficient for brands, annoying to the ether and can still leave consumers unsatisfied with the resolution, assuming one is met. Their complaints remain visible online, are buried or searched, and web conversation a little messier than needed. It’s time for a diaper change.