While everything seemed fine initially, when the confirmation email still hadn't come through, I started to worry. When I logged back into my new Stubhub account, I was informed that there was a problem with my account and the transaction was cancelled. Annoyed, I tried contacting Stubhub through their online chat feature. If it wasn't ugly before, here's where it gets ugly. (I've deleted the customer service rep's name and replaced it with "Guy". Since we were in Montreal, you should pronounce it "Gee").
Me: Hi Guy. I just received an email now that says that my order was cancelled?In short, no tickets for you, your account in on a 48 hour hold, for your protection(!) and, uh, is there anything else I can help you with. Oh, and no, reactivating your account is not one of the things that I can help with. After a few lines of chat after this, Guy hung up on me. He was done. End of story. And since my account was locked, I couldn't re-access the chat feature.
Guy: I see you are concerned about an email for your order
Guy: Let me take a look for you
Guy: Yes, I see the situation. Our system thought there was an error with this account. It has been deactivated for your protection. Our Trust and Safety team is currently reviewing the issue and will contact you in 48 hours or less. What is your best contact method?
Me: probably by my cell phone, (provided)
Guy: Is there anything else I can help you with?
So My Complaints Moved to Twitter
Many customer service organizations monitor Twitter these days, and surprisingly enough, complaining on Twitter can actually get you a customer service response faster than most other platforms. Why? Well, as far as Guy was concerned, he answered my question, completed a customer service inquiry, and that was that. I was a success metric. However, on Twitter, I'm in the middle of a global town square yelling to everyone about bad business practices and frustrating experiences.
Within probably 10 minutes, I received a response from Stubhub's customer service on Twitter. Mind you, I've triggered customer service responses from Airlines and everyone's favorite cable provider that's not a monopoly, but most of the customer service responses that I've received through their Twitter communications were along the lines of, "bummer man, I'm sorry our product isn't working for you," end-of-story. To the credit of the Stubhub Twitter support, they actually responded with action.
Stubhub's Twitter team explained why their fraud engine kicked in, then informed me that they would work with their fraud group to get an accelerated solution. Within about 10 minutes, they contacted me again to let me know that the account had been unlocked. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my Twitter feed, they can't do anything to replace the transaction that their system interrupted. Had the event tickets been in even higher demand, I might have been unable to attend the event. As it was, we were able to obtain a similar set of tickets.
Overall, I would say that there were some winners and losers throughout the experience:
- Stubhub's online chat guy - FAIL. All you had to do was stay on the line and keep answering my questions until we were done, but you didn't.
- Stubhub's Twitter Team - Good Job! I was pretty frustrated with Stubhub's business. You did a great job of engaging me and, while I didn't come away from the experience singing the praises of Stubhub nor was I "amazed" by my customer experience, you left me with a feeling that I was treated fairly within the constraints of your system.
- Stubhub's fraud engine and it's potential impact on your access to "limited resources" - Needs Work. There are a lot of ways that this could have gone less wrong or that it could have been worse. If they locked up and just cancelled a transaction -- just because -- and tickets were limited, I would have left with an extremely frustrated experience.