There’s been a rise in the number of companies that use Twitter for customer support lately, albeit with varying degrees of success. Generally the companies I’ve interacted with seem to be quite effective at offering simple support solutions for their customers, however, as with anything, there are exceptions.
Around 6 years ago I used BT Wi-fi (nee BT Openzone) on a regular basis. Whether I was in London for a gig, or in a coffee shop in town sometimes I couldn’t do what I needed to do without a stable connection. I opened an account, loaded it with £10 and used it when I needed.
About a month ago I started receiving emails from BT Openzone advertising their latest services. I’ve been trying to keep the amount of useless email in my personal account, so I tried to unsubscribe from the newsletter only to be greeted with a page asking me to log in and update my preferences.
I tried a password reset, and was then told that I’d need to contact them via telephone as I hadn’t set a mobile number on my account when I signed up. This left me a bit puzzled, as I wasn’t using the account any more and simply wanted to stop their emails from showing up in my inbox.
Rather than pay to phone an non-geographic number I opted to contact their customer support on Twitter;
@PhilCoyne Hi. If you’ve not set up security Q or given a mobile no. we can’t text username, hence request to call. Can we help retrieve?
— BT Wi-fi (@BTWifi) April 25, 2013
Suddenly something that should have been as simple as clicking an unsubscribe link had turned in to a task that had taken around 30 minutes of my time. From what I understand it also goes against the CAN-SPAM act;
Include a “clear and conspicuous” unsubscribe mechanism in every email (section 5(a)(5)(A)(ii)).
BT are a huge company, they may not support many customers outside of the UK, but they should at least be following guidelines like anyone else on the Internet. When I told them about the act, they had this to say;
@PhilCoyne We’ll get u taken off. If you’re account holder, we ask u to change account prefs. Thx for feedback. Taken yr comments onboard.
— BT Wi-fi (@BTWifi) April 26, 2013
Not only do they opt for txtspk when supporting their customers, but they also have no knowledge of an act that any company who sends out marketing emails should be following, including little old me.
I may be overreacting, but my inbox is a temple. How am I ever meant to reach inbox zero?