If you have ever doubted the power of social media, I am here to tell you that it is an amazing tool not only to propel your brand or business forward but also to affect change. Over the years, I have reached out to companies over my social media platforms and had much success in creating a dialogue with them about their services or products. This week, I was able to use social media to solve a personal problem and to give a major pharmaceutical company honest feedback about their practices and customer service. Here is my story…
My family and I receive all of our medications through a mail order pharmacy called Express Scripts. This past week, I received a letter from them stating that I needed to call to update my payment information on file before they could release my latest prescription out for mailing. I waited until after Christmas and promptly called them and provided them with my debit card information so they could simply withdraw payment directly from my checking account.
Later that evening, I was doing some online banking when I noticed a large debit well over the amount that I had authorized them to debit from my account. It was almost ten times the amount! I immediately called Express Scripts and was told that they had no record of this debit despite the fact that it had clearly been withdrawn from my checking account by them. After a frustrating amount of time where I received no answers, I demanded to speak to the supervisor.
The supervisor parroted the same information that the previous customer service representative had told me and vehemently insisted that there was no record of the charge on their end and was I sure that the withdrawal was from them. Short of calling me a moron when I insisted that it was on my bank statement clear as day, she began to talk over me and was generally dismissive as I stated that they owed me an explanation.
Finally, the supervisor told me that nothing could be done until I submitted a copy of my bank statement to them for their review. After contacting my local bank branch, I found out that the process to get this resolved would include filing a claim through the bank, a cancellation of my current debit card, and having to apply for a new debit card. Never mind the fact that I would also have to wait for a refund of the close to $200 that had been taken out of my account by a “ghost.”
Out of sheer frustration, I checked to see if Express Scripts has a Twitter handle and, upon finding their Twitter account, proceeded to send tweets out about my dilemma to them. Almost immediately, many of my followers proceeded to send tweets back to me recapping their horrible experiences with this pharmaceutical and their customer service practices. Shortly thereafter, @ExpressScripts tweeted me directly asking for my contact information in order to address my concerns. Here is a copy of their tweet to me:
Fast forward to this morning. I received a call from Cathy today at Express Scripts corporate and explained to her, in detail, what had happened. She then asked me for my debit card number, put me on hold, and proceeded to conduct a trace of any charges that had been made using that number. After a few minutes, she came back on the line to tell me that the charge had finally been located and would I wait a few more minutes while she investigated the nature of the charge. Low and behold, she returned shortly and first apologized on behalf of the company and then proceeded to explain to me that the customer service rep that I had originally given my debit card number to erroneously used it to pay off the account of another person.
Yes, you read that correctly, they used my checking account and paid off a complete stranger’s account with my money!!! It was a relief to be vindicated after having been treated so unprofessionally by most of their customer service reps as well as their supervisor, “Nancy.” The great thing is that I was able to proceed by having a very productive conversation with Cathy about some of the things that Express Scripts could do to improve their customer service practices and be more proactive in addressing the concerns of their patients as they arise.
Had I not taken the initiative to address my concerns on Twitter, I probably would have had to continue going in circles to try to get my money back. The fact that Express Scripts immediately contacted me to address my issues is proof that not only are big companies paying attention to what is being said about them on social media but also that they care very much about what the public’s perception is about their brand and their company.
As parents and consumers, it is imperative that we recognize and harness the power of social media as a platform that can be used to affect change and to have our voices heard. After all, these companies would not even exist or flourish if we did not purchase their products or services. They owe it to us to hear our individual and collective voices and to reach out to address any concerns or issues that we may have pertaining to them. Just in case there is ever any doubt, I am here to tell that when it comes to social media “Big Brother” is definitely watching…
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