Monday, November 04, 2013


Social Media 1, "Customer Service" 0

Last month, my desktop computer crashed, following a firewall collapse. After going without for a few days, I finally called up the PC Richard help line to see if they had solutions by phone. No such luck, so I brought it in for service. They explained that the repair would probably take about 10 days. A bummer, but what are you going to do.

As it so happened, on this they were true to their word, so on October 22nd, I went to the Upper West Side PC Richard to pick up my PC. It was brought out, wrapped in bubble wrap with two stickers -- one with an invoice number and "COMPUTER" printed on it, the other with "POWER CHORD" on it. After getting back home, I alas discovered, the power chord wasn't strapped to the back of the Hewlett-Packard computer as suggested. Instead, there was some Sony accessory I had never seen before.

As you might expect, I went back the next day (Wednesday, the 23rd) to seek my/power chord (funny how desktops don't work if they're not plugged in). The friendly storage clerk told me that they didn't have an extra chord to give to me (nope, they can't just use one from a floor model). He called the main warehouse and explained the situation. He asked if I could I come back Friday when it would be delivered on "the truck." Friday, I called -- chatted with the same clerk. Oops, sorry it wasn't delivered, but please check back Tuesday.  If you're keeping track, between the actual computer crash, the 10-day service absence and now this chord situation, I've gone without for more than two weeks.

I called PC Richard on Tuesday, October 29th, spoke with a different clerk this time -- Sorry, sir, no power chord, but, definitely, absolutely, Friday this time.

Oh, enough! As it so happened, Tuesday was my birthday and this wasn't what I was expecting in the form of a present.  Heading down to DC that afternoon for an event, I pulled out my iPad, looked up PC Richard's Twitter handle and dashed off the following -- which garnered a response barely 40 minutes afterwards:

    1. : Want computer serviced -- but be unable to use it for nearly 2 wks b/c power chord was NOT returned? is for you!
    2. Hi Rob we are sorry to hear about this situation and would like to resolve the issue. Please send an email to

  1. (2 of 2) with your name, phone number, invoice number, and ref. to this post - thank you.

Well, well, well! That's nice to see.

Even better, after returning from DC later that evening (Wednesday morning wee hours, actually), I found the invoice and did as instructed.

Later that afternoon, I received this e-mail:

Dear Robert George,

Your computer, model# POWER CORD has arrived at the Chelsea showroom, and may be picked up at your earliest convenience. Please be sure to bring your claim check or your indentification for verification purposes.

Thank you for entrusting P.C. Richard & Son with your repair needs.


The P.C. Richard & Son Service Department

Wow. In slightly more than 24 hours, a sardonic tweet had gotten P.C. Richard & Son's attention -- and gotten my computer's power chord whisked to a store (albeit not the one with which I had been dealing)!

Let this be a lesson, folks. Traditional customer service is inevitably a one-to-one relationship. Moreover, quite often, it's an unequal relationship when one considers one person vs. one business/corporation. Social media, however, can be an equalizer or, perhaps more accurately, a force multiplier. Once a concern is put on Twitter or Facebook or any other platforms, a personal frustration suddenly impacts a public entity's reputation.

Obviously, this doesn't give anyone carte blanche to commit slander or demonize a business, but if you're in the right and find an unacceptable level of responsiveness on the face-to-face approach, there are now far greater options than once might have been once available.

In truth, satisfaction can literally be found at one's fingertips.

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