April 27, 2011

A tale of social networking and customer service

This happened just the other week. It was so fun that I had to tell you.

Like an engineering joke, it was 6PM in the evening and we were ready to leave our office when something exploded. Lidia, our Marketing Director, subtly asked, is there something wrong at customer XXX?

Only an engineer can understand the amount of pain hidden behind that simple and innocent question. As you can easily imagine all remaining engineers in the office rushed for their coats and looked nervously at the door, calculating the optimum path to leave the office without being seen.

Hopefully the account manager in charge of the account was out, but panic started to spread as we identified the source of the information.

Somebody had tweeted the following:
‘All afternoon disconnected because Enterasys doesn’t feel like it.’

The power of social networking allows us to have alerts when somebody tweets or posts to his/her LinkedIn or Facebook profile certain keywords, and obviously Enterasys is one of those keywords we track. We were able to track him to a LinkedIn account where we found the current occupation of the tweeter. He was based in a building in Barcelona that had some network issues in the past, but was now one of the most successful NAC deployments in Spain, our NAC.

Phones started to ring, calling this and that contact at the customer. Somebody complained that we were losing time reading tweets, others suggested the Godfather solution to the problem (make it look like an accident), but no one could find a real issue in the network. Actually the network managers were very happy that we had left behind the problems of the past and the NAC deployment was a model for everybody in the IT department.

So, why would somebody complain about Enterasys if the network was working fine? I would also add: How did a regular employee at the customer discover that Enterasys had something to do with his network?

Exactly for that reason: because the network was working fine.

It was the end of Christmas season; Christmas season in Spain used to be long with people taking up to 2 weeks off, even more if Christmas day, New Year and the 6th of January arrange in strategic weekdays.

So somebody took some time off, returned to the office and found a web page, courtesy of Enterasys NAC, telling him that he missed some antivirus or system updates and hence he was not allowed to connect to the network. The needed updates took whatever time to complete and in his spare time he tweeted his frustration with Enterasys. Just like everyone expresses frustration with the police when they are caught speeding, but it is not the police’s fault.

So we managed to get in touch with the unhappy employee. We told him that nothing was wrong with the network but his company’s IT staff needed to do some upgrades in his laptop.

And… he accepted it; actually, he appreciated our interest and willingness to hear what our customers think. And he expressed it with another tweet:
‘Good service at Enterasys. Mystery solved, I have a network again!’

About The Contributor:
Salvador FerrerDirector of Solutions Architecture

Salvador Ferrer has been with Extreme Networks for over five years is the Director of Solutions Architecture. Ferrer has more than 15 years of leadership experience in the networking market at companies such as Nortel and Bull.

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