Since 2008, I got a great job through LinkedIn, I met wonderful people through it, and I learned a lot from the posts my connections shared, but that is not why I am writing today.
As a trainer on Customer Focused Management, I have always thought that in the service industry companies will make mistakes and customers will complain – that will never change! Nowadays and thanks to social media, customers complain publicly and can cause real damage to the brand of the service providers. To make this even worse, if a social media company makes a mistake then the damage can be horrendous – except if handled effectively.
Three months ago, LinkedIn offered me a free upgrade to a Business Premium account which is a lucrative type of accounts on this professional networking website. Being a big fan of the value LinkedIn creates, I immediately accepted the “generous” offer and enjoyed the extra features! I was so excited that I did not even notice the following in the terms and conditions: “Discount applies to the first month of a LinkedIn Premium account subscription. After this period, you will be charged the standard rate on your renewal date unless or until you cancel your LinkedIn Premium account.”
This simple mistake cost me 60$ which is significant enough to drive me to file a complaint to the customer service department of LinkedIn. It was clear that I misread the terms and conditions, which is enough to make me responsible for the cost. Instead of simply ignoring my complaint, the company decided to reply to me explaining the situation. Furthermore, LinkedIn decided to refund me fully for my own negligence.
I am not only impressed that I got my money back, I am also astonished about how huge global companies maintain their humility and build their successful brands through attention to basic customer service practices. Empowering customers to complain, making them feel heard, and finding a solution that gains their trust back are the ABC’s of service excellence. In my situation, LinkedIn was responsive (replied within 6 hours), flexible (offered different options), and absolutely effective in recovering the service level.
Today and more than any other time, I feel more loyal to the brand that LinkedIn created. I will continue using their service and will use this incident as an example of service excellence in all of my customer service courses.