When the director of technical support of a global company reaches out to you personally to solve your tech issue, you can't help but be impressed.
I was in a text message/web support infinite loop that was leaving me very frustrated. I was receiving daily text messages with Monster.com info that I couldn't cancel. (I follow hiring trends as part of covering the marketing industry.) I tried canceling my Monster.com account, but continued to receive the texts. I reached out to their tech support, but received messages that told me to log in to change my settings. (But as I had already cancelled my account, this was obviously frustrating advice.) After four unsuccessful attempts to get help through the web form... I turned to Twitter.
I tweeted to @monstercareers for help. At first, no reply. So I blogged. (See the post below.) Then I found a phone # for employers who want to advertise on Monster.com, and hoping I could sweet talk my way in to tech support, I called... that's when things started to change.
- First, the person who I was connected with through Monster's phone # was very helpful. She connected me with tech support AND gave me their direct extension.
- Tech support gal Kendra was great to work with. She confirmed that my account was cancelled, and manually cancelled any alerts being sent to my email/phone.
- Then I received a tweet back from @monstercareers.
- Then... I received a personal email from the head of tech support for Monster with his direct line. I called. Not only was he helpful and friendly, but he stayed on the line with me making sure they had not only cancelled any email alerts, but to check to make sure I hadn't created any accounts I had forgotten about (I hadn't), etc.
- Then......... Monster.com PR called. Yes, my tweets and blog had caught the attention of the mother ship. Kristen was a tad guarded for about 5 seconds, as I was apparently an angry journalist out to make Monster.com look bad. As I'm actually a pretty nice person, who by this point was relieved by the amazing customer support she had received, we had a nice conversation and I told her how impressed I was by Monster.com's response.
Btw: this is where I want to clarify something. The text messages below are neither formatted by nor sent directly by the Monster.com communications team. Back when I had started my Monster.com account, I had set up an email/text message forwarding filter through gmail. Recently I had searched through old filters in my gmail and couldn't locate any that appeared to be text forwards of Monster emails, so was convinced the texts were coming directly from Monster. But I'm pretty sure the texts were forwards of email alerts. (Which also explains why I couldn't cancel "text message alerts" through my Monster.com account. So the gmail alerts are what is pictured below.) Learning this greatly changed my perspective.
Results and lessons?
The good news is, not only will I stop receiving the email alerts (which, as reminder, were forwarding as texts) within 10 days or fewer, I am also reminded of the power of social media. You see, I have 7,400 Twitter followers. Many of whom are marketers. Possibly someone with 50 followers would also have gotten a personal response from @monstercareers... but my bullhorn is a little larger, and I need to use it carefully.
This has also reminded me to be very cognizant of the user experience I'm helping create, and to take user feedback very seriously. Even though Monster.com was only responsible for part of my frustration (1. multiple helpdesk replies that told me to log in, though I was clearly stating that I had cancelled my account, 2. the 10 day delay on having email notifications stop (I know, not everything in tech can be immediate. But 10 days is a long time to wait, check, try again.), and 3. no other way to get help except through the web forms), my frustration was very real. The response I received from Monster.com respected that.
Which is why, no surprise to marketers, I have now gone from grumbling about a company to hailing them as a great example of customer service. This is the best result a customer service department can hope for, and yes, I've gone from complainer to evangelist.
So I will say it again: Monster.com rocks. Thanks Kendra, @monstercareers, Jaime, and Kristen.
I've included the original blog below, in case you find it interesting. But the real story is the Monster response. Which was great.
Original blog post:
I love following job boards. It's a great way to know what's trending in the industry. For example, I knew about Sony's Crackle two years ahead of time, because I saw that they were hiring web coders and media producers for a "new Sony media property." And Indeed.com is a treasure trove of who's doing what.
But recently, having a relationship with monster.com has become a, er, monster experience.
My Monster Problem
I don't remember when the monster.com text messages started. Obviously I must have added my mobile # to my account at some point. Something my 2013 self can't believe I did. (Maybe it was an additional account security confirmation option?) And obviously I must have clicked "yes" on some form about "would you like to be contacted via mobile about jobs that fit your selected options?" It made sense at the time. And it wasn't bad receiving a list daily of ten titles companies were hiring for in my area (LA media and marketing). LA is a great bellwether for the greater industry.
Fast forward to now.
I am receiving daily gibberish text messages from Monster (they're mostly nonsense characters, with no clickable links). And they come at inconsistent times. Midnight in NYC when I'm on a work trip and finally fall asleep (and am using my iPhone as an alarm)? Ping! 5:30 a.m. on a morning when I'm sick and really wanted to sleep in? Ping!
I want them to stop. Block them, you say? I would love to. They come from different phone numbers every time. I'm not kidding.
Cancel them out of my account? Well see, I had a genius moment that I greatly regret. Thinking I was too busy to poke around the account settings, I instead cancelled my Monster.com account thinking this would obviously make the text messages stop. Right? Um. No, now I'm locked out of Monster (by my own hand), with NO ACCESS to stopping the text messages.
Contact Monster support? Done. Four times. The various auto-reply messages tell me to log into my account and change the settings. I have replied multiple times that I CANCELLED MY ACCOUNT. Alas. Whether reply bots or very nice people, they don't get it and aren't helping.
Restart my account, add my phone #, wait a day, remove my #? That's the current attempt. I'll let you know how it goes. (And yes, my fresh new account let me add my phone # even though it's already in the system. Which made me wonder: does this mean ANYONE ELSE could add my #, and I'd be receiving text messages with NO WAY to stop them? Or did the system somehow know not to send me a confirmation text?)
In the meantime, I've taken to the social front. I tweeted to @monstercareers this morning. No reply yet, but maybe having 7,400 Twitter followers will give me a slight boost in being taken seriously? And now I am blogging.
Lessons for marketers
Brand loyalty is a valuable thing. So here's what I've learned, and want to apply at my own company:
1. DON'T ANNOY YOUR CUSTOMERS. If we send spammy texts, emails, Facebook posts, etc. our audiences won't take us seriously. It's much easier to lose goodwill with our customers than to build it. Protect your brand! Give your audience something of value at every touchpoint!
2. Don't over automate. I have a genuine complaint, and I can't find help. My next step will probably be contacting Monster's PR team. That's how desperate I am. Monster.com has a very efficient system. I get an auto-reply email within ten minutes of submitting a help desk request. But that's all. No human interaction. Nothing else I can do.
3. Reevaluate your user-side communications on a regular basis. First, how can Monster's communication team not be aware that they're sending gibberish text messages? They need to revisit all communication aspects on a regular basis, to make sure they're working correctly. But second, if they do know, aren't they embarrassed? These text messages, like everything else with Monster.com, are automated. Maybe Monster's comm department doesn't have much influence with their dev department? Or maybe the texts looked good at one point, but a system update messed up the display and it was never rectified? Whatever the case, it's not working.
Monster.com, I would love to do a follow up to this blog about how you've contacted me to help with my problem. You can reach me by clicking the "contact Bethany" link on my author page. I'd like to think you're proud of your brand, and don't want to pester your users with annoying-but-fixable problems.
In the meantime, any other ideas?
I love social media. Received a reply from @monstercareers via Twitter a few minutes ago. I also found my way to a very helpful tech person named Kendra by calling Monster's phone # for employers who want to advertise, and asking if they could help me reach a tech person.
Not 100% sure the situation is fixed yet... but we're getting close.
Monster.com, consider this part 1 of my follow up blog about what a great experience it was working with you to solve this problem.