Don’t hang up on the Social Phone!

Posted in: Opinion- Mar 03, 2013 Comments Off

The Cloud is a godsend for a small business or lone operator like myself.  No end of mission-critical applications in The Cloud support my work with ever-up internet services and intuitive iOS apps available for the iPad and iPhone.  Google Drive has become essential very quickly and very nicely for free replacing the need for Microsoft Office (I have every intention of being a Microsoft-free zone.)  Not only does Google Docs provide a simple Word Processor and Spreadsheet utility, but Google Drive makes those documents easily accessible and discussable on all sorts of devices – for free.  I’m also getting so much value from Evernote, Google Calendar, Dropbox and do all my book keeping through Aussie Cloud accounting app Saasu.  While some of these services are free, some are not.  But most importantly, the principle advantage they offer is the ubiquitous availability and the automatic back-up.  This is what the Cloud means.  Security and Peace of mind.

One application in particular that has brought great ease and simplicity to me is Sliderocket.  I hate Microsoft Powerpoint.  I mean, I HATE Powerpoint.  I don’t just dislike it as a piece of computer software, I think its been a detriment to civilisation altogether.  Years working at Oracle I saw how people had begun to communicate only through Powerpoint.  Instead of writing a few pages, someone would instead replicate a 60 slide deck and email it to you, thereby blowing-up your inbox.  (Historians in the future will look back on the demise of Western civilisation and pin point the launch of Microsoft Powerpoint as the beginning of the end.  Mark my words.)

So when I set up on my own, I endeavoured to find a way where I could avoid using it and was delighted to be told about Sliderocket (thanks to @Apacloud!)  You design your slides using a very simple interface online, store them there and be able to log in on any computer or device and present them.  It can do complex “transitions” for people who need it, but primarily it’s about simply presenting thoughts, images or statistics to support concepts you are presenting.  Awesome.  So I paid for the premium version.

Given how so many of the new Cloud services are free, once you start paying for something like this, your expectations of bullet-proof availability go up significantly.  Lately, Sliderocket has been letting me down – in particular taking forever to login.  On one occasion I literally could not present to a client because my login – on any computer – took too long.  (Its acquisition by VMware has done more harm than good, I feel.)  Recently, I worked until midnight on a particularly complex concept slide I needed for a presentation only to get up the next morning to find Sliderocket apologising for effectively dropping my work and leaving the night’s work gone to waste.  Thanks.

Furious, I took to Twitter to complain.  There might have been an email address I could have gone to, but like many millions of consumers today my first instinct was to turn to Social Media to converse with a company.  So I made a Social Phone call.

It went unanswered.  No response.  A paying customer voices dissatisfaction in public about a major #fail in their product – no response.  It is my growing opinion that to fail to answer a public comment about your service with some expression of concern is akin to just not answering the phone.  No company would publish a phone number and then just refuse to answer it.  Even with a machine.  Companies with a service being consumed by customers should be attentive to their attempts to have Social conversations with them.  If your company is going to have a Twitter presence it should:

  • monitor that presence
  • track and report its mentions
  • resource a team to engage on its behalf
  • prioritise those requiring a response, and do so within 24 hours
  • have policies stipulating engagement protocols
  • plan content for that presence
  • measure its impact

I’ve since had a look at the @Sliderocket presence. While it has a lot of followers (26,000+) the account is almost exclusively used for self-promotion.  Here are just a selection of very recent tweets that have – like mine – gone unanswered; much to the detriment of the Sliderocket brand IMHO.

 

 

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