LinkedIn Gets an F for Customer Service

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LinkedIn presents a tremendous opportunity for individuals of all types and sizes to build and display their personal brand to the world. What a great product built at the right time. LinkedIn is a game changing site for so many reasons. Access to the site information gives sales, marketing and recruiting departments an exponentially greater opportunity to do their jobs at a much higher level. Additionally, the available research, survey data, documents, presentations, and so much more make it a hub of valuable data that provides so many uses to such a wide audience. There are very few social media and social network conversations these days that don’t include the word “LinkedIn” along with Facebook and Twitter. In the book “Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide”, the author speaks of how the winner takes all in the web 2.0 world. LinkedIn has clearly taken the prize for its position among the professional networking sites (there really is no #2). I give them a fat A+ for site quality and the value to its wide target audience.

On the extreme opposite side of the spectrum, they get a fat F- for customer service. It’s funny how that works, right? How can a top flight company, network site, or whatever we refer to them as, be at the thrown of their space while providing such poor customer service? Any brick and mortar company would perish if their customer service was horribly ranked among the competitors in their market.

So, why do I say this? Here’s my story in a nutshell.

To this day, I still have no resolution or answer to the technical difficulty that I have with LinkedIn. LinkedIn, as most of you know, recently upgraded the functionality to offer a more social communication platform with status, updates and comments to profiles and group discussions. Yes, a great upgrade to the interaction capabilities for it’s members. The issue I have, and continue to have, is that I cannot create discussion descriptions, reply to peoples status or add links (add link icon) to discussions. When I click on any of these links through my LinkedIn account, the page refreshes and nothing happens or gets posted. It’s like my ability to get all these new features has been turned off, but I can see them right there in front of me. Now, I consider myself a fairly tech savvy person and can usually work my way out of technical difficulties at a consistent pace. I have tried every single possibility to find an answer as to why this is happening. I’ve been to their FAQ’s, I’ve googled the issue, I’ve tried every browser, I’ve tried other people’s accounts and as a last resort, I made an attempt to talk to LinkedIn’s customer service. This is where it all went downhill.

About a 2 months ago, I submitted a ticket with their customer service through their web site. After 5 days and no response, I replied to their automated response email (that someone would be in touch with me) asking what the deal was and when I would hear back from them. No reply. After another 5 days, I emailed again and finally got a response 3 days later. The response was an auto generated response telling me to walk through the steps that I had already walked through; which I described to them in my initial trouble ticket. It was obvious that nobody read my issue to begin with. I replied in BOLD CAPS that it is still not fixed and they need to read the problem before answering.

At this point, I am getting extremely frustrated and had decided to call their HQ and talk to someone live. After digging to find a phone number (not listed on the web site), I called their main line and got an automated response telling me to select #1 for customer service. YES! I got so excited and figured I was on the right track. NEGATIVE! Selecting #1, put me into a general voicemail that told me to leave a message and someone will get back to me. As I was leaving the message, I pictured this answering machine from the 1980’s sitting in the corner of the break room with lights blinking notifying whoever gives a hoot that there are 10,000 messages that someone needs to return. I left my message and hung up. That was over 4 weeks ago. Nope, still no call back.

Here’s where their customer experience best practices kicks into high gear. After going back and forth with them on email (mostly forth, with little back), I received an email from LinkedIn asking me to take a survey about my recent customer experience. HAHA. A survey was triggered because in their mind, they determined that a ticket was closed and somehow my issue was resolved. Well, I found this quite interesting and spent some detailed time to let them know EXACTLY what was on my mind. The 15 or so questions were answered honestly and I handed them a customer experience response that should have made it clear to them that their entire customer service department needs to be replaced; of course if they even have one.

I stepped back from my consumer anger and put my business hat on and thought about their business model and whether or not I should expect to get top support when I am getting a free service. I thought about addressing this point in my article but decided to leave that for next week. The topic around Free and supporting such an entity is an interesting discussion saved for another time.

So, that’s where it stands. No resolution, no communication with a live person, a completed issue in their minds, and no reasonable fix to my problem. I continue to email them weekly until this gets fixed. We’ll see how that plays out.

LinkedIn Customer Service Grade : F

Kevin O'Brien
Kevin possesses a winning track record for transforming small market organizations into large thriving entities. His expertise exists in executive level business strategy for technology and software companies and has been responsible for outcomes that include leading organizational structure and growth, optimizing sales and marketing strategies, and driving the efficiency/effectiveness for entire corporate operations.

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