That’s why social media matters in the service industry

27 Oct
27/10/2010

Last week I visited Adobe’s online store to purchase a copy of their CS 5 Master Collection. It’s quite a pricy piece of software but taking into account the amount of really great application you get, I generally believe it’s good value for my money.

As I had to do some work over the weekend, I decided to go for Electronic Software Delivery (ESD), assuming I would be able to download the product instantaneously. Little did I know…

I purchased and prepaid (a four digit Euro amount). And waited. And waited.

My money was gone immediately but Adobe did not send any confirmation for the first 48 hours.

Then a welcome email came in guiding me to an Adobe licensing sign-up page. Quickly signed up and found the “My Products” and “My Licenses” sections completely empty.

Tried to call their service center just to listen to a poorly recorded out-of-office announcement. Opened a support ticket. That was on Saturday.

On Monday an electronic response told me to wait a little bit longer as Adobe was going to “process my order”. Whatever that means, but all the advantages of purchasing software online were long gone anyway.

After two more days of waiting I called into one of their service centers, noticeably got rerouted to some outsource facility in a poorly connected country and the agent on the other side couldn’t do anything for me. Almost as expected.

Being extremely frustrated with Adobe at this point, I sent out a straightforward tweet:

A few minutes later, I got the following reply:

Once I DM’ed the Adobe team my order number, the issue got resolved within an hour.

There are a couple of remarkable things here:

  1. Forget about contact centers. I’ve been working in that industry (technology) in my past life and there’s hardly any real innovation. You still get queued. You still get agents who can’t help. It’s predominantly an extremely frustrating experience. Vendors across the service industry promised to solve these core issues for the past decade. They failed.
  2. Obviously, Adobe Inc. is monitoring the twitter timeline for keywords linked to their brand. But not only that: They act on their “data”.
  3. The team behind the Adobe Care twitter account was empowered to help pragmatically. I did not have to go through long authorization processes and neither was I forwarded from 1st level to 2nd tier support.
  4. The entire interaction took a couple of minutes. I’m pretty confident that the total cost of this support incident was way below any contact center interaction.

While the Adobe Store still needs some serious improvement, cudos to Adobe for taking social media seriously.


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