Frank McClung

On why it’s important for senior executives to be directly accessible to your customers.

My mother-in-law, who has onset dementia, forgot to hang up when calling her relatives in the Philippines and wracked-up a 239-minute, $723 call as a result. No, the call won’t automatically disconnect on international cell calls even if one party hangs up (or at least it didn’t in this case). It is a mistake anyone can make.

We tried the normal T-Mobile support channels, but they were not able to help very much. I tweeted John Legere’s (T-Mobile’s CEO) account and his “Executive Social Media Team” member, Stephanie Garza, responded immediately. Within 10 direct messages, Stephanie was able to resolve the issue and credit our account and charge only the actual time on the call.

How important is it for customers to be able to communicate with the CEO or his/her executive staff to resolve important issues? Very important to both the company and the customer. Most issues can be handled through a normal support process, but some cannot. Sometimes the escalation chain is broken and there needs to be a way to get directly to the top. In my case, I may have taken my cell plan and 9 family phones with me to another carrier or had to go into an extended legal battle to resolve the $723 charge, costing me and the company more money than it was worth.

Instead, with a direct line to an executive, it was resolved quickly, and T-Mobile is receiving positive social media press from a very happy customer.

I work directly with the CEO’s of small to medium-sized businesses and organizations to design, redesign, and develop their online brand strategy and digital presence. Executives are often leery of putting their email address or direct company number on their public website. They are even more worried about establishing their own Twitter account. I encourage them to do both, and from now on, I will tell them this story.


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