Customer Service Isn’t An Act. It’s A Trait.

by · March 26, 201262 comments

Nichole Kelly is not just a writer for Social Media Explorer, but a business partner of mine. While we’re still working out the details of what that relationship means so that we can announce it publicly, but it’s safe to say she and her work and expertise are important to me.

Last week, Nichole was involved in an incredible exchange, both publicly and privately, with a company called Solve360. They are owned by a company called Norada and produce a customer relationship management software which has the honor of having one of Nichole’s consulting clients as a customer. When Nichole reached out to them to try an answer some technical questions about how their service integrates with an email platform, she was disappointed in the routing and re-routing to the online help documentation (which wasn’t sufficient to answer her query) and posted these two tweets:

Solve360 Customer Service Example

Norada Customer Service

Most of us in the social media echo chamber are tempted to use the public channels here as a way to flip the ear of companies that don’t please us. When we do, sometimes we get tended to and other times we don’t. Frankly, I think calling out companies in situations like this is often counter-productive, even if it is justified. If they’d simply called her back (what her email to the company asked for) the problem wouldn’t have been a problem.

But the situation soon spiraled out of control. The next day, Nichole saw this tweet in response from the company:

Norada Customer Service

I’ve been shown the public and private email exchanges between Nichole and Solve360 (represented by someone listed as Mike). I’ve also seen the exchanges that included a few of Nichole’s readers and followers, including Megan Horn, who blogged her experience with more detail than we care to dive into. I’ve also seen an email sent to Horn from someone named Steve Ireland, who we believe is the president of Norada. While we thought about sharing them all here for everyone to see, I elected to save you the experience.

In short, the exchanges are astonishing. The company Twitter account called Nichole and Megan “frauds” and said the issue is “over your pay scale.” This is when Horn emailed the company hoping the issue could be explained by a rogue employee manning the Twitter account. Ireland (the company executive, not the customer service person) then responded with an email that included accusing Kelly of being a, “self-proclaimed social media expert(s) grandstanding.” He also said, “social media currently has no place in the top 10 ROI for any real business.”

And while Horn’s email was sent to point out that whomever was manning the customer service desk for the company was being rude and condescending — she wasn’t really involved in the root issue — she was met with similar shortness and condescending finger wagging from Ireland, including this:

“Your actions are not without consequence.”

What We Can Learn

I don’t know why this company thinks taking hostilities out on social media folk is a way to win friends and influence people, nor why they would take those hostilities out on someone who represents a client that currently pays them for multiple (in the 20s) seat licenses of their software. I don’t know why any company of any kind anywhere would be outwardly hostile toward any customer, even one that is being a turd (though I don’t think any customers were in this situation). I can’t imagine a company anywhere would ever say publicly, “squeaky wheels don’t get greased here.”

It’s apparent that Mike and Steve are cut from a different cloth than the customer service we all expect from those with whom we do business.

My takeaway from watching, then reviewing, this scenario is that customer service is not something you do. It’s not an act. It’s who you are. It’s part of your DNA. Steve and Mike do not appear to have service in their DNA. They appear to be content that if they keep a certain number of customers happy, they can shit on the rest and still make their margins. They also appear to have a bend against social media, social media consultants or Kelly, but I’m still not sure why they’d be so vocally abusive of any of the three.

Unfortunately, when customer service isn’t in your DNA, when it’s something you do rather than who you are, you eventually lose (or for Mike and Steve’s sake, you don’t win as big as you could have). Negative word of mouth spreads much faster than any positive word of mouth and even those you take care of like kings will eventually hear how you treated those that you don’t.

This situation has nothing to do with social media or social media experts. It has everything to do with knowing that any exchange with a customer or prospect is your banner you wave to the world. You can choose for it to say, “We love customers.” Or you can choose for it to say, “You’re not our core account, so you don’t matter. Deal with it.”

And no, the fact this company makes a customer RELATIONSHIP management software is not lost on me. I need a good laugh now and then. That fact will be nice to revisit.

At the end of the day, Solve360 is right about one thing: Actions are not without consequence.

While I’m sure there are some consequences awaiting them, they won’t likely realize them right away. A few tweets and even an SME blog post aren’t going to cause dozens of customers to run fleeing from Solve360. But continued behavior like that they exhibited last week to customers will sneak up on them.

Karma, as they say, is a bitch.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://twitter.com/Chris_Eh_Young Chris Eh Young

    Customer service is either a priority or it isn’t. The biggest issue for many companies is not just that their customer service is bad, it’s that by the time they realize this, it’s often too late. 
    5% of dissatisfied customers walk away and tell you why. 3% walk away mumbling under their breathe. 2% walk away making a huge ruckus. 90% walk away silently and you don’t realize they’ve gone until your business is struggling.

    If we treat our dissatisfied customers as an opportunity to learn and improve, good things happen. If we ignore, we run risks.On a side note, one of my favourite phrases when I worked in corporate was, “The squeaky wheel doesn’t always get the grease, sometimes it gets replaced”.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Chris – Thanks so much for commenting. I agree you either do great customer service or you don’t. I think one of the challenges with company’s recognizing their service is bad is that they don’t listen to their clients enough. It is so true that many customers who aren’t happy just walk away and don’t say anything. Social media presents a fantastic opportunity to get client feedback and improve service. 

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Great line, Chris. I’ll remember that one!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Good stuff, Chris. Thanks for chiming in.

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  • http://flavors.me/40deuce 40deuce

    As someone that acts as the public voice of a company, I’m shocked by this whole story.
    I mean sure, I have to deal with some people who think they’re way more important than they actually are, but that doesn’t mean I would treat them any differently than I would anyone else. Especially in a public forum where everyone in the world can see it going on.
    Customer service, especially in social media, is about trying to help the customer as best as possible, not treating them like crap. Especially to do so over such a small thing as saying “I got no real answers in an email.”
    The world is very public now and very different than it used to be. Companies can’t afford to have these things out in the public anymore (although they should avoid having issues like this all together, but one step at a time). These are the small things that make or break companies today. Why anyone wouldn’t be wary of this stuff is beyond me.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Hey Sheldon! Thanks so much for joining into the conversation. I can’t even imagine one of our employees handling an exchange this way. Firing them would be the start, but the public damage to the brand is harder to measure and recover from. I’m so glad that Sysomos has it’s eye on awesome service!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      We were going to blame it on their Canadian backgrounds, Sheldon. But then we remembered you and knew that couldn’t be the case. Heh. It’s amazing they think this isn’t going to affect their public perception. Even if it does among the social media and technology sector, my guess is they’ll feel it somewhere. Hopefully, it doesn’t cost anyone a job along the line.

      • Robert

        The problem is that the OWNER is THE HOT HEAD so from top down their are dysfunctional . 

  • http://newenglandmultimedia.com/ Michelle Quillin

    I didn’t read the exchange, so I hope I’m not speaking out of place here, but from now on, whenever I hear or see the name Solve360 (a brand I’d never heard of until now), it will be linked with maltreatment of customers, because of what I DID see here. And here’s where the social media audience Mike and Steve dismiss can hurt their company’s future: I saw this blog post tweeted by a highly-respected marketer with a HUGE audience (John Jantsch/Duct Tape Marketing), and found it was published on a highly-respected blog with a HUGE audience (Social Media Explorer), run by a highly-respected social media and digital marketing professional with a HUGE audience (Jason Falls). Social Media + Highly-Respected Professional + Huge Audience = Potential Customers Reached. 

    Lesson for any business: whether or not you think Social Media ROI is worth your time and energy, it certainly is for many, and we have audiences who not only follow and listen to us, but respect our opinions and advice. So take note: what starts out as a nasty little spark between you and a customer — one you think will fizzle out before you’re done rolling your eyes — has a very good chance of getting fanned into a flame that can grow into a wildfire. The days of treating even the worst customers like garbage are over, because chances are, those customers use social media. They’re going to talk. If you don’t have a service-oriented and relationship-driven heart, you’re going to suffer for it.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Your words are singing in my ears. This represents a great example of what you don’t want to happen to your brand. My jaw is still on the floor…and I’m shaking my head in bewilderment as I have no idea what the company was hoping to achieve. Thanks so much for commenting.

      • http://newenglandmultimedia.com/ Michelle Quillin

        Nichole, it’s certainly baffling. Some social media consultants might operate in echo chambers, but our audience includes businesses, including website designers/developers. I have two private Twitter lists, completely full (that’s 500 each), of JUST New England businesses that we build relationships with, and a public list of businesses outside of New England.

        We create WordPress websites for businesses, but we’ve also created websites for businesses needing CRM platforms. We’ve used Adobe Business Catalyst (Twitter: @adobebc) for those customers: http://www.businesscatalyst.com/. Check them out if you haven’t already.

        I checked Solve360′s platform out after reading this post, and I liked what I saw, but I could never recommend them. I feel bad about that, but the public nature of their responses — including the arrogance displayed in their Twitter bio — is disturbing from a customer service and branding perspective. They should make a public apology, delete those comments, start over, and hope this all goes away eventually.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for saying all that Michelle. I think we need to be realistic … Solve360 may not lose more than a couple customers over this (Pretty sure they’ve already lost one) and they’re somewhat right in assuming one person in social media isn’t going to destroy their brand. But they certainly are planting some bad seeds for down the road. I’m not sure how many of their prospects read this blog, but isn’t one too many? Hope they figure that out at some point. 

      • http://newenglandmultimedia.com/ Michelle Quillin

        I don’t think they’ll lose the customers they have now, if they’re providing great tools. But they’ll lose potential customers, for sure.

        It’s certainly not the blog post on its own that hurts Solve360, since nobody would have noticed it if not for social media. Rather, it’s the nature of sharing by people who not only teach social media-focused customer service, PR, and relationship nurturing, but who also share Solve360′s target market: businesses. Every time we push this story out to our audiences as a case study of how not to treat a customer, Solve360′s brand gets tarnished in the eyes of the very people they want to reach.

        As the title of this post suggests, I’m not sure great customer service can be taught unless the student already has the right heart and personality. I feel bad for Solve360, too, knowing they had the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

  • Charlene

    Oh the memories this evokes! Back in the day – before social media platforms were for everyone (think bulletin boards), I managed customer service departments and always, always, always hired the person that lived for service. Then would fight with upper management because my department would document the customer needs, and upper management would say exactly what was said by Solve360: “they’re not a large enough account to worry about”, “upsell them because they’ll get better service”, “what a pain – no, we won’t address this because it takes too much time and effort”.

    I like those stats posted by Chris – I used to tell my CSRs that every 1 angry customer will tell 20 of their friends…every 1 satisfied customer will keep purchasing from us. Now it’s changed up a bit, of course, because of peer recommendations via social media. But bad news still travels much faster than good. Bummer for Solve360.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Yep. Bummer for them. Thanks for chiming in Charlene.

  • http://blog.wcgworld.com/author/gmatthewswcgworld-com Greg Matthews

    This is a pretty remarkable case … and apparently it’s ongoing.  Just went to the @Solve360 twitter account, and the bio indicates that it’s apparently been abandoned (without an apology or deletion) as a result of this series of incidents.  Quite bizarre! https://skitch.com/chimoose/8pgww/mike-at-norada-solve360-on-twitter

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Yeah, and they’ve added a couple paragraphs to their contact us page about certain people not “getting it” and they don’t care how many Twitter followers you have … just gets more and more weird. It’s like they’re begging people to leave them. Strange.

  • http://twitter.com/KristenDaukas Kristen Daukas

    WOW! As a huge customer service person, had that been me involved, I would have lost my mind.  THAT is why I discourage my clients from “just” tossing their customer service and/or social media to the freshest face in the group. But this is a perfect example of if your company was bad before social media, all social media is going to do is make your bad company well known.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      True to a degree, Kristen. They’ve been around a while and I assume feel comfortable in their arrogance and customer base they can treat people like this. I hope they can. For their sake.

  • http://faleafine.com NEENZ

    The insecurities of Solve360 are amplified in their responses…

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Amen to that. Good to see you Neenz!

  • http://searchmarketingwisdom.com alanbleiweiss

    Just from my initial take, Solve360′s team showed the maturity of 8 year olds in how they respond to customers they don’t like. Then just like 8 year olds do, they packed up their Twitter account, stomping their feet and claiming “Twitter’s “cool kids” and spammers ruined a good thing. Catch us on LinkedIn where the grown-ups get work done.” 

    And exactly how do the people at Norada believe they’re going to earn the respect and trust of professionals who learn about their company through this fiasco on their part? 

    Epic fail from a customer service perspective.  Worse, they’re in a tech sector. With prospective customers such as myself who actually converse on Twitter, regarding tech sector recommendations.  And always look to see if a prospective vendor has a Twitter account. Because to me, it’s a sign of their willingness to engage. 
     

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Agree, Alan. It’s a shame they can’t consider any person they come into contact with a potential customer or prospect. That might serve them better.

  • Rebekah

    Unbelievable. They just lost a lot of possible revenue from the “cool kids.” Perhaps they for got that the cool kids influence others.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Yeah, Rebekah. I think they’re under the impression that people on Twitter (or social media) aren’t actual customers or work with/influence actual customers. To each their own, though. They’ll feel it somewhere along the line, I’m guessing.

  • http://twitter.com/meganhorn Megan Horn

    Thanks for sharing this story. It’s crazy to see the effect that one single comment (the squeaky wheel one) can cause so much trouble.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for being a part of this Megan. Sorry you got dragged into it by them, but appreciate your persistence and insistence on them getting this right … or horribly wrong.

  • http://wadeonbirmingham.com/ Wade Kwon

    “Frankly, I think calling out companies in situations like this is often counter-productive, even if it is justified. If they’d simply called her back (what her email to the company asked for) the problem wouldn’t have been a problem.”
    I agree with Jason. As a long-time consumer complainer, I have gone up the ladder, even writing a letter (not email) to the CEO with specific problems and asking for help.

    Sometimes they respond, sometimes they don’t.

    Social media is my absolute *last* resort, to demonstrate that I’ve made a good faith effort to let a company solve a legitimate problem from an unhappy paying customer. Otherwise, it looks like mere whining.

    Like social media, companies either “get” customer service or they don’t.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Wade. At least in this case, Nichole did start with the more private online channels before Tweeting her frustration. Hopefully, most people will provide some due diligence before popping off publicly. Thanks for chiming in.

    • Robert

      The problem with Solve360 is THAT THE OWNER IS THE HOT HEAD. They dont have a large team so maybe the owner is taking on more than he should be and cant handle the pressure. 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/tradewingstravel Vishal Patel

     We were making our final decision after various trials as to which CRM to sign up to. Solve 360 was high on the short-list.  When we did a little Google search last night we came across this article and various tweets. We were obviously concerned at first. However we then sat back and realised that through the entire process from testing to actual functionality it was the perfect product for us. We had also received excellent and timely support when needed.  Therefore we were happy to proceed with them and take up their service. 

     I am not going to get involved or comment on who I think is wrong or right here. I am not a social media expert like some people here seem to be so wont comment on social media strategy either.

    One thing our entire office is in agreement of here is that  Solve 360 are certainly a genuine company who dont hide behind any smoke screens and say it how it is.

    Their comment on their site today has to rank amongst the best customer promises I have ever seen.

    ” I will steward our important responsibilities and protect the interests of our other customers like a mother lion”

     I  run a travel business and my business would close down overnight if we replied the way that the guys over at solve did. In fact social media is so big in our industry that I know some hoteliers who are practically blackmailed into giving upgrades etc or face having a negative comment placed on trip advisor or elsewhere. 

    I am in a very unusual and fortunate position that I manage to run a business with nothing more than an office with a small team, no website and zero social media ( for now anyway ! ) I can do this as we go over and beyond in what we do for our clients in terms of service and generate enough referrals to keep us too busy to even launch a website. I cant re-iterate enough the damage it would do to our business if we replied like this though

     However should this really have any influence on anyone taking up the service ? Hopefully not.  The responses and actions of the team at Solve are far from conventional but this is what also endears them to me so much. Other companies may be a little more slick in their approach and have a ‘strategy’ but who cares if when push comes to shove they are no faster or better in dealing with my problems. 

     It is naive to think that those companies that have a solid media strategy and therefore wont have articles like this pop up on a google search are any better when it comes to support. Anyone who thinks otherwise is utterly deluded.

     I looked at actual user reviews and Solve 360 faired a lot better or was easily on par with some of the competition. It was this kind of data which I used to come to my business decision to use Solve rather than because some ‘expert’ decided to give them their seal of approval. 

     If the argument is that this is an #epicfail and #PRdisaster  for Solve 360 , and potential users who have found the software and service to be useful turn away based on a couple of tweets, then I think it says a lot more about the business acumen of the people its scares off than Solve 360 and their media strategy. 

     The passion of the team at Solve 360 may have not manifested itself in the positive PR response that would or should normally be expected , and may be naive in the eyes of the social media realm. There is no doubt that these are people who care about what they do , and like a ‘mother lion’ perhaps lashed out in stout defence of their beloved product.

     I  would rather deal with a company who have demonstrated they truly care for what they do and shown a human element to themselves ( even if slightly flawed in their execution ) . 

    At least we know what / who were dealing with here. If we have made the wrong choice and the mother lion ever turns on us then we cancel our subscription. Its as easy as that.

     I hope we have a a long successful relationship with Solve and good luck to the business owners who will follow the herd and make decisions based on a few tweets , because off course the guys with no negative press and flowery tweets have no flaws ! 

     

     

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for the response Vishal. Like you, I’m hopeful that what happened with Nichole in this instance was an isolated incident. And I don’t fault you at all for looking more deeply into them that just trusting one review or report on one website and a few tweets. Everyone should take that much care in selecting the vendors they work with.

      The only problem I have with the whole scenario involved in the Solve360 story is they took this venomous approach toward a customer. While Nichole was representing said customer when she reached out, it’s not like they just attacked a random social media consultant, they treated a paying customer’s representative with that kind of condescension and dismissal. For me, that speaks volumes. I hope you continue to have a different experience from them, though.

    • Robert

      The issue is that the owner is a hot head. This isnt the first negative light type issue to arise. I saw within their forums that a user was having a problem and it escalated. They went back and forth and the owner or whomever was commenting was down right rude and just made the situation worse. If you are a hot head you shouldn’t be engaging customers when they have a criticism. 

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  • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

    This astonishes me, and I can only feel the emotion of the unfolding of this debacle. I’m sorry, Nichole, you got the raw end of the stick, and I applaud your community for supporting you in this regard.

    This company is obviously taking on a war mentality with outside-in marketing; WRONG.

    I wish I’d known of this situation when I prepared by presentation for Penton’s Chief Marketer program in re social customer service teams. This story needs to be told and retold as an example of what not to do.

    Agog.

  • DaveG

    I haven’t spent much time analyzing the exchanges but the little I saw and the complete lack of explanation or apology from Norada was enough to sour me.  I had just started a trial of their software when a google search turned up this fiasco.  I am apparently not their kind of customer.

    I can’t understand any situation where their responses (any of them) would make sense or could be condoned, much less overlooked.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for chiming in, Dave. Sorry for them that their short-sightedness has a long tail effect like this. Glad we could help you with your purchasing decision. My guess is you might have been disappointed down the road had you not found the post. Good luck!

      • DaveG

         Yes, I think you’re right Jason.  I find it hard to believe that a company that would respond to anyone in that way could truly deliver a product that is designed to meet the needs of their entire client base. 

        I get the same feeling from 37signals.  While they have very nice products (Basecamp and HighRise), their attitude seems to be “You don’t like it?  Tough. We’re too cool to care about you then.”

        I want to place my time, money and effort in a product that I know is not only going to work well now but is also backed by a company that really cares about what I want and need.

        Norada certainly demonstrated that they don’t care.  And no, Vishal Patel, this opinion is not just based on a couple of tweets.  Much of their marketing and support material oozes with that same arrogance. 

        Just like in life, it’s not how to treat people when the spotlight is on, the true test of a person, or a company, is how you treat people when you think no one is looking.

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  • Robert

    I can tell you from being on the receiving end of Solve360′s wraith that resolving customer issues isn’t a priority. NO TELEPHONE support should be a RED FLAG for a product that you are paying $39 per month for. 

    I had left a VERY CIVIL but negative review for Solve360 on the Google Apps marketplace. The owner emails me on a Sunday evening at 10pm and the tone was, “change your review or your service will be terminated”. I have the email I can send backing up what I am saying. Needless to say at the time I wasn’t in the position to change CRM providers so I changed my review. It was surreal to receive this email on a Sunday night at 10pm my time!  

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Wow. The hits just keep on comin’. Thanks, Robert.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=538233526 Rakesh Luthra

    I loved the idea of project management integrated with CRM… but your review saved me from falling into the solve360 trap. Agree with Robert’s view that no support = red flag = no signup.

    I went on to signup with mavenlink (a small company) but awesome at support with live help.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for the note Rakesh. I’m glad we potentially saved you from a bad experience. I continue to feel bad for Solve360 over this. But they made their bed, I suppose.

  • joelscahn

    After weeks of reviewing potential CRM apps for our company, we are now down to the final few… Your well written article (which started some additional research) dated March 26, 2012, makes the decision a bit easier as we will NOT consider Solve360.

    Solve360′s response/communication could have happened to any one of us and there are too many solid options available for Solve360′s arrogance. No Solve360 sale here.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Joel. I’m sorry there’s such a negative out there about them. But at least it might be helping folks make an informed decision on who they use.

  • http://www.zews.co.cr/ Fabián Vargas

    Hi all. 

    I just found this article today.  Been using Solve for quite a while now, and I have to say that support, until today, has been superior.  I can contact them by direct mail, and within minutes I have a very detailed answer… sometimes I even feel that I bug them more than I should, but they keep coming back with answers.

    Sorry to know about what happened to Nichole, and that sort of response is certainly not the best way to treat a customer, but as far as our experience, nothing to complain about yet, and the system works just great for our purposes.

    I thought it would be fair to them to give my point of view regarding this matter, since I’m really, really happy with the system and the support until today.

    Regards from Costa Rica (excuse my english, is not my primary language).

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you Fabian. We appreciate some perspective and balance to the issue.

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  • Millie

    While I completely agree that perhaps the customer service was lacking or even improper in this particular instance, I have personally had excellent customer service from 360 and continue to enjoy the benefits of their superior product. I have tested and tried many CRM programs on the market and to date have found nothing else that even comes close to providing all the features and integrations that I needed and in the price range my small business could afford. Other companies might have handled it more professionally, but those same companies also charge their customers big bucks for every little feature that you have to add to the product to make it complete. I would be upset if I was on the receiving end of bad customer service, but I wasn’t and haven’t been with Norada. I love the product and it would have to take something really big to make me change my CRM after so many years of using their very reasonably priced, full-featured, all-inclusive and dependable product!!!! I don’t really think it’s right to judge a company or a product and drive business away from a company over one or two incidents.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Appreciate the input Millie. Glad you have had a good experience with the company. While I would agree that one or two incidents of bad service is not enough to warrant recommending against a company, this wasn’t an example of one or two incidents. These communications from Solve 360 were pointed, mean-spirited and uncovered a bit of the DNA of the CEO and the others communicating on the company’s behalf. If they’re willing to treat a single customer like this — especially one they can verify is driving business to them — that speaks more than a single cranky day on the customer service handle or phone line.

      So while sure — I’d consider our assertions here unfair if it were just a single bad customer service experience, I’m comfortable that the story we’ve told uncovers far deeper issues that warrant such a piece.

      Thanks again for the feedback, though. I am glad you’ve had a good experience with them.

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  • harveybeck

    For a business to succeed, it needs to have several components right – but it doesn’t have to have them ALL right. Depending on the industry, the segment and the competition, you can do fine if you’re not operating on all cylinders. This might be one of them.

    As one of Norada’s Solve360 customers for the past two years, and having done an extensive review at the time, I can say the Solve360 PRODUCT was head and shoulders above the rest. Frankly, the only customer service we ever need is mainly technical, and that’s always been provided quickly and in a useful way.

    Do they give service with a smile? Based on the exchange you related, clearly not. It’s something they’re obviously weak at. However, this is JUST ONE COMPONENT of the full package I’m buying.

    - it’s an excellent product overall
    - issues are dealt with quickly and usefully
    - the product’s very sound technically
    - they have a correct (imo) philosophy of delivering an outstanding product in a narrow space, and connecting it to other best-in-class services via open APIs for those areas where other services are strong (eg email services, accounting services, etc)
    - they already have fabulous integration with other services, including Google Docs

    - their core ability to flexibly relate contacts to contacts, companies and blogs is terrific; very few of the other CRMs do that
    - their pricing is excellent

    I could go on but will stop for now.

    When other companies can offer the full package of benefits provided by Solve360 – and ALSO provide service with a smile – I’ll consider whether it’s worth changing. It’s a fiercely competitive segment so Norada should never get too comfortable.

    But right now, Norada’s dedication to excellence, continuing product improvement and combination of benefits remains the clear winner for us.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I don’t disagree with your premise, Harvey. Great service isn’t required for a company to be successful. But when the company officials go out of their way to be assholes, well, that’s a different league. I just wouldn’t want to do business with someone who thought it was not only good to not provide good service, but add salt to the wound by making fun of the customer.

      I’m sure Solve360 is doing fine. But I wouldn’t predict a great deal of long-term success if they continue to have that kind of aggressive anti-customer attitude.

      • harveybeck

        I agree with your comment as well. If this is a broad attitude taken for all customers over a long period of time, I can hear the death knell already.

        However, judging by my current experience with their customer care staff (I’m actually in the process of trying to solve a Google Docs integration issue right now), their responses are blazingly fast, useful and polite.

        I don’t know what it was like two years ago when this post was written but it’s currently excellent. I suspect that either they’ve learned a good lesson or there’s some other senior person now on board compensating for that weakness in the CEO. That would actually be a sign of a good CEO – supplementing his weakness by hiring others who are strong in that area.

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          That’s certainly good to hear. I hope things are different now. Glad to hear you’re having a good experience.

  • http://www.jellycode.pt Goncalo Malho

    I regret to know this has happened. I run a web & digital marketing company and support is (really) our main focus and differentiation. However, I have to say that we´ve been using Solve360 for more than 3 years and never experienced anything like this. On the contrary, their support has always been excellent and Solve360 is the most complete and customizable cloud CRM you can choose (under their price level). I´ve tried all major CRMs (and still do, from time to time, just to be sure I’m using the best/ most suitable) and I’m glad to have made the right choice.

  • Adrian Brown

    I love the CRM except it can be a bit slow… I’ve never really had to deal with their customer support though

  • http://www.meylercapital.com Krysten Ouwehand

    We use Solve360 religiously and recommend it to all of our clients. They’re consistently courteous and ridiculously responsive to email inquiries. I don’t blame them for not having round the clock telephone support – part of the reason their product is so competitively priced is that it’s run by a very lean team. They don’t claim to support large corporate organizations – in fact, they recommended a competitor’s product for one of our larger corporate clients. I’m not saying it’s okay for a company to be snarky to customers on social media, but niche providers don’t have to worry about pleasing everybody.