OK, time for another rant. If you have read any of my articles, you know that Local SEO is dependent on the reputation that a company has, particularly as it is exhibited on line. This reputation is won not only by the quality of the product or service sold by the company, but also by the customer service provided by that company. So, what happens when a company provides terrible customer service, to the point that they act as if they don’t care one whit about what their customers think about them? I’ll tell you what, they develop a bad reputation and their Local SEO is severely compromised.
Here’s my story, and I’ll try to keep it brief, but probably not. I was having some problems with my internet service provider about a month ago. For some reason, they were blocking access to my business websites. I could access them with another service provider, just not mine. And it was not just from my IP address either. But that is not the issue that prompted this rant. While calling more than once to resolve this problem (happened two weeks in a row), they kept telling me that I was overpaying for my services and could save a significant amount of money by bundling my services, both internet and cable TV.
Local SEO begins to die a slow death
Against my better judgment, because somehow I knew they would screw things up (I’ve dealt with this company off and on for many years) I relented and changed to the packaged service. While setting things up over the phone, the conversation turned to my internet modem. I already owned one when this company took over service in our area, and my bill always reflected an owned modem, which meant no rental fee. So when the customer service rep brought up the modem, I emphasized that I did not need a new modem as I already owned one. I even told him to check my current account to see that it was reflected in my billing statements. He assured me that the modem rental was removed from my package, and that we were good to go. Well, you know where this is going, don’t you?
In a couple of days, I received an email summarizing my new package. And guess what, there was an $8 monthly internet modem fee right smack dab in the middle of my statement. So I called the service provider (almost slipped and typed in Comcast), and basically went through the same routine that I had gone through the first time, only emphasizing that I wanted the rental fee removed and I did not want a new modem. I was assured that both would be taken care of, that a modem had not yet been shipped, and was given a confirmation number for verification. You know that this is going to get worse.
Local SEO goes over a cliff
About a week later, just when my day was going oh so fine, I get another email from my diligent service provider to let me know that my new modem was being shipped. I grabbed the phone right away and gave them another call. Amazing how you can memorize all of the prompts and messages in a call tree when you have recently called about a half a dozen times. After rattling off all of the ID confirmations that they usually ask for one at a time: name, phone number, address, last 4 SSN, I told them that the shipment needed to be stopped. After some time on hold during which I assumed she was actually checking the status, she came back and confirmed that it was being cancelled. Again, I received a confirmation number. Yippee.
The Death of Local SEO
So, my new internet modem arrived a few days later, and I waited a day to call my internet provider pals to see what to do with it to get it back to them. Why a day? Because I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty. After all, they hadn’t displayed any competence up to this point. So the next morning, I debated if I should just call and get it over with, or wait until after business hours so as not to ruin my work day. After about 15 minutes, I decided that it was better to just get it off my plate because I was dwelling on it anyway.
When I reached the customer service rep (I am being generous with that title), I explained the situation, the several calls, the 2 confirmation numbers, the whole enchilada. After being put on hold for quite some time, my little bundle of joy came back and informed me that I could return the modem at their nearest service facility. Knowing that the drive to the nearest one is almost an hour round trip, which I would have to make on a Saturday, I told her I just wanted UPS to pick it back up and return it.
“Of course, sir” she said. “We can send you a shipping label so that you can return the modem, for a fee of $9.99”.
I then proceeded to inform her that I had no intention of paying to rectify their mistake.
“I understand sir. In that case you can return it to our nearest service facility”.
I then explained to her that I had no intention of driving an hour round trip to their facility or paying for return delivery. They made the mistake of not cancelling the shipment when I called, more than once, and now they needed to take responsibility for retuning the modem that I never ordered. I even had my confirmation numbers!
Local SEO just gives up
You knew where this was heading all along, didn’t you. I made one last valiant attempt at using logic to turn her around. Feel free to skip this rant if you like and go to the conclusion. I wouldn’t blame you.
“What is the point of having a customer service department, if when a customer calls with a problem you tell him you will take care of it and then you give that customer a confirmation number for verification? Then when the problem is not resolved, TWICE, you tell the customer that it is now his responsibility to resolve the problem that you created, on his time and at his expense? Why do you even have a customer service department if you do nothing to resolve the problem? Why do you even hand out confirmation numbers if they mean nothing when the customer calls back to confirm he had called previously and was told the problem would be resolved?”
I can only guess how many times I repeated this chain of logic. Finally, I asked the customer service rep to just stop talking and answer this question:
“So are you telling me that Comcast (oops) is willing to cheat me out of $9.99 for their mistake when I send you a check for almost $180 every month? Is that your final answer? I don’t want to hear anything else, just if that is your final answer?”
The Conclusion of our Local SEO story
Well, that was about a week ago, and the modem is still in its unopened box sitting in the corner of my office. Probably will be for the foreseeable future. One of these days I’ll drop it off at the nearest service facility, but probably when I am in the area anyway so that I don’t feel quite so used. And one of these days, when I am not so busy and it’s not such a big pain in the butt, I’ll look into another internet and cable provider. Just not right now.
What does this have to do with Local SEO? Well, everything. Every company has a local presence. Their reputation is everything in the communities they service. And treating customers this shabbily creates a bad reputation, as well as a negative local online presence. This blog article, well, it is just one way that their cavalier attitude towards treating the customer badly will come back to bite them in the Google. Another way is if I write a bad online review (which I did). Maybe even file a RipOff Report. Or maybe I don’t need to. This screen shot kind of tells the story. I rest my case. And don’t forget, schedule a Free 30 minute consultation. Adios.