7.25.2009

Letting Go of Customer/Friends

So...most of my regular reader(s) know that I work for a software company. My position there is Customer Service. So, basically I solve problems and interact with customers via email or phone until said problem has been solved.

It's cool. I've been there for 11 years. Don't worry-this post isn't going where you think it might be.

So...11 years. And now, enter social media.

Yes, I'm on the Twitter. I tweet about 1 time every 2 months. Don't get too excited.

I'm also on the Facebook. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to call me a Facebook junkie.

So...social media+customer service+dealing with most of the same people for 11 years= people on my FB Friends list that are also customers of the company I work for.

This has been mostly fine until yesterday. I had a particularly frustrating email from a friend (that has since been resolved, thank you very much). And on FB I posted that I was frustrated, but I was letting things go (meaning letting go of the frustration).

My mistake was posting this during business hours. I was informed that with as many customers as I had on my friends list, I couldn't be posting things like that during the day.

And it's true. I'm not going to bitch about the person that told me this or any kind of evil corporate censorship, because that's not my take on this.

Basically...the potential is HUGE for my posts on FB to be misconstrued. I am sarcastic and somewhat cynical in nature (I know, right?!)...and I'm usually not afraid to spout out whatever's going through my head.

And this could be bad. Bad for business.

Look at it this way.

You're a customer of mine. You and I are on the phone for 2+hours working on a tough issue. You know I'm frustrated about the call (not at you, necessarily, but the problem). And you and I go home later and you see that I've posted something like "Man...that effing call today was about to freak me the eff out...can you believe that b**ch??!!!???!"

Now....what you didn't know was that at some point during the day I also got a call from an attorney...or the IRS...or anyone else that pissed me off.

The likelihood of you asking me about "the call" that's referenced in my status message is slim. The likelihood of you assuming that I'm bitching about our call earlier in the day is slightly higher.

And that's bad news. Because all of a sudden our working relationship is now damaged by something that had nothing to do with work.

Or...on the flip-side. I read on your post that you're excited for the SAP visit Monday. Now, seeing that they are a competitor, I've got cause for concern (never mind the fact that is the warehouse module of SAP and you happen to think the rep is cute and it has nothing to do with our software at all)...again..there's tension and I'm likely to make assumptions.

And that's just on Facebook alone. What about Twitter where we're limted to 140 characters? There is NO room for clarity, and commenting on tweets isn't as straightforward as commenting on FB posts.

So, basically, after talking with my supervisor and fellow co-workers...I'm coming to a conclusion. And it's as simple as this-I need to be pro-active and self-regulate this before a policy comes down.

I am going to take anyone off my friend's list that is also a customer of the company I work for.

This sucks, somewhat, because I am friends with a lot of you. We've met at user conferences...or when you're in town for trainings.

Nope, not an easy thing, but I think it's probably going to be the best thing for now. If it looks like such a policy isn't coming, then I'll re-add you all (please don't take the 'drop' the wrong way...it's just 'safer' for now).

Know this, too. No one forced me to do this. I'm doing this of my own choice. It's just necessary for now. I don't want to be in a position where I'm afraid to post something that might be taken the wrong way...and I don't want to make things more difficult for my employer (and certainly don't want to think that anything I've posted could jack up my job...I'm not ready to walk away after 11 years,I have a little too much vested there to get sacked over something silly in facebook).

On the bright side. the photo-blog and this blog are open (not invitation-only), and most of you have my email address. So, we will still be in touch (especially if you have support questions).

Have a good weekend, and (maybe) talk to you next week.

-Todd

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I totally understand.. even if I'm not the client any more.

Take care and I'll talk to you soon!

rhubygirl said...

wow. nail. head. there you go. *impressed*

Todd S. said...

thanks, r-...it wasn't an easy decision, but it certainly made the most sense given the potential for problems that are inherent in any social media.

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