Social Media Doesn’t Fix Horrible Customer Service

Bad customer serviceSocial media is the new age of doing business and despite sounding cliche, isn’t something that can be ignored. 2008 through 2009 we were still seeing a lot of hesitation.

Now, that’s changed considerably with 2010 and 2011 leading the way in tremendous growth.

While social is a great way to engage with customers, potential customers, and bring value in a very powerful medium, some companies simply don’t get it. One that comes to mind is Boner’s BBQ (yes, that’s not a typo) and how they easily exercised the worst use of social media ever.

Another company that doesn’t get it, after learning more about which kind of surprised me, is LG, multi-Billion dollar maker of electronics and appliances.

At least in my eyes, LG had always made good products and I personally liked the brand in general. Just recently, someone who I’ve gotten to know over the last couple years, Amber Naslund, had her new LG TV simply stop working.

After all sorts of troubleshooting, it was clear that it would need to either be fixed by a professional, or the company would have to send her a new one as the TV was still under warranty and only 3 months old. Fast forward a few days later, and, well, it became pretty clear where the situation was going.

Note: I tried to embed using Storify instead of the image below, but couldn’t get anything to display.


Amber has a very active following of nearly 50,000. Warren Whitlock who got involved, has over 100,000 followers.

Thanks to Warren, upon digging deeper, LG actually has pretty horrible customer service, a whopping 95% negative according to Customer Service Scoreboard and their over 350 comments.

LG customer service

This isn’t just horrible. This is deadly to a business. And to think that LG is ranked third in social media sentiment and has over 12 different Twitter accounts (I stopped counting after that), shows an inherent problem. Many large organizations are using social media as a one way street, a way to plug news and get people to buy XYZ.

One problem: They’re not only NOT using Twitter for customer service which it is amazing for, but they’re plugging more and more products through social, that are backed by horrible customer service.

This is a perpetual cycle. And after someone buys XYZ product and receives horrible customer service in return, what do they do? Chances are, they’ll talk about it online with their friends.

And there lies the problem. A company is talked badly about (and for good reason in this situation), and they do nothing to fix it or address it and in the appropriate social media channels. Again, a perpetual cycle that eventually will lead to an overwhelmingly negative response, a negative response that kills business.

Having great customer service should be a priority.

If a large brand can’t provide good customer service, then they shouldn’t be on Twitter, Facebook, etc., to begin with because sooner or later, it will bite them on the ass. And in this case, LG not only lost a valuable customer, but many more.


I feel your pain, I have had an LG dryer that has and currently is having problems. I am trying to get an extension of warranty and have just been getting jerked around by LG. my 3-5 day wait is now on Weeks. Every time I call its " I'm not sure why your paperwork wasn't submitted."  Horrible customer service. I'm done buying LG products for sure.


Nice useful post.

I also search and contact my well reputed websites that are known as high brands and i contact them through each and every available resource however they can't respond to my mails and sometimes they contacted me when i left that thing and purchase an alternative for that. that is their customer service on which we all advised to stressed hard. anyhow its a shameful for those webs who are not responding to their customers problem after selling their products and also shameful for those who are not providing any customer support about their services or products.

your post makes me hungry to write three to four pages about different branded sellers who yet not respond to my mails however i stopped myself because it will began a war.


Hi Mike -

It's not a new idea that customer service is everything. The difference is that most of those interactions happened behind closed doors, and we bitched to our friends at the Tupperware party when something went awry, and we might influence a few of them, but largely those incidents were isolated in terms of their public viewing. The behaviors haven't changed, but the platform has dramatically.

To be fair, as hilariously frustrating as my customer service call with LG was, I *do* have someone coming out this week to look at the TV. The results of that remain to be seen. But the problem for me was twofold: one, and perhaps most important, was that I have a shoddy product that I paid a good bit of money for. Two of course is that LG made it a consistent inconvenience for ME in order to have that addressed. I had to fill out their warranty form, then email, then call when they didn't respond (which was an adventure in itself), then deal with emails *afterward* that were obviously confused and overlapping and conflicting on the date of my service appointment, and now I am responsible for calling to confirm the service tech that's coming out. All of that seems like a lot of work for me when it's their product that failed.

But back to the social media part of the equation, it's really simple. All of the clever marketing, slick Facebook landing pages and clever Twitter feeds vomiting out your self-serving content in the world will never, ever undo the impact of a bad product and worse customer service. It's lipstick on a pig at best, and far too many companies think that making an appearance on social channels is some kind of panacea. And the point for me isn't how many followers I have or the potential reach of my complaint, though I suppose it's naive to think that doesn't matter. More fundamentally, I'm their customer, having a terrible experience, and have the distinct impression that no one cares.

Unfortunately and eventually, the companies that don't learn how this new world works will gradually and irreversibly feel the impact of that. Hyperbole? Maybe. But I don't think so.

Thanks for the post.




This is a sad (but absolutely true) reality among a lot of big companies. Two that come to mind, specifically from my own dealings with them, are @BlackBerryHelp and @TMobile. Blackberry took three days to respond, then ten more days to respond again after saying, "Go to our forum!" And this all came about from a promotional email that they sent me, wherein I clicked a link, went to their site, and then clicked another link on their site which led to the option of purchasing only one mobile device, which was a DROID2. I tried contacting them through every available email address and phone number, but they wouldn't speak to me (and the emails kept getting returned with the message "not delivered, contact your mobile service provider"). Was I supposed to tell my phone company that BB's corporate site is screwed up and sending customers to their competitors? In the mean time, though, they keep tweeting lots of "helpful" ads and promotions.And don't get me started on @TMobile. That was a series of epic fails.

mikestenger moderator

@ambernaslund Thanks for further sharing your thoughts. And is a tech still coming tomorrow? That part bugged me as they didn't take into consideration that tomorrow is Valentine's Day and you could have had something special planned. Either way, here's to getting the TV fixed! :-)