by Pat Palleschi, Ph.D., President of the Executive Agency
Dear Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn:
I had no knowledge of you prior to this post, but I must admit that I have harbored a bit of a love affair with your company. I love the “thumbs up,” the endorsements, the comments, the posts — the sheer fun of connecting with people with whom I’d worked or with whom I’d like to work. It is kind of like Hinge — but kinder, more business-like, and there is no sex involved (to my knowledge.)
But recently I felt jilted.
I had posted a job on LinkedIn for a person with an advanced degree in Psychology or Social Work. After one week, I got a handful of responses… none with degrees or qualifications of any relevance. (Although one applicant had been at Whole Foods.) As I remember, my beloved LinkedIn promises a certain number of “qualified” candidates if one posts a job within a specific timeframe. So I tried to call/chat/link/connect to anyone at LinkedIn to see what happened.
Have you noticed that there is NO easy way to get help from a person who works at LinkedIn?
Specifically, there is no clearly-indicated customer service contact number on your site?
After holding for a virtual rep, a virtual voice told me that I might get a return call in 24-48 hours. Jeff, imagine waiting for your Hinge date in a bar — for two solid 24-hour days. And they didn’t show up. (Could take you off your hinges.)
In frustration, I called the only “sales representative phone number” anywhere on your site — you know, the number for the top .0001% of your clients… the number you get if you are planning to buy a solid gold membership at LinkedIn? (I believe it also comes with NetJets membership.)
Using that number, I spoke to the entire baby book of millennial names: Allie, Apple, Brittney, Brooklyn, Detroit, Lindsey, Madison, Pear, Tiffany (OK, some of those I made up) on several separate days. Each time, the sales reps were polite, but I was told that they did not have customer service for a “person like me.” Not wanting to take this personally, I’ll assume they were referring to my LinkedIn status.
I asked for their supervisor. Not there. (Vacation? Sauna? Volleyball? Day trading?)
I asked for the manager. In a meeting. (Two separate days. Two separate requests. Two times in a meeting… They meet a lot, I guess. Hey, they should try using LinkedIn InMail!).
Everyone with whom I spoke said, “YOU should tell JEFF that LinkedIn needs some customer support.”
Hmmm. So, I’m telling you, Jeff.
After my third call (three’s the charm, I suppose), I got the newbie in the department (two days on the job). She took pity on me and promised that a person with two years experience (greatest tenure ever!) would call me back. I worried that it could be a trick — disconnecting and then “losing” the number seems to be less a trick than a tactic for LinkedIn.
MIRACLE! The sky parted, the stars aligned, and 30 minutes after the newbie spoke with me, a voice came down from above. Well, actually the voice came from the phone. A manager named Taylor listened to me. He looked at the post. He looked at the candidates. He calmed me down (not easy!). He said he “cared” about providing good service — and then he said he would call me back. I was doubtful (see “tactic” above), but I still have that “thing” for LinkedIn. And I’m an optimistic type.
Behold, Taylor enabled his virtual masters to understand the concept of customer service. Taylor moved heaven, earth, Pluto (even though it is no longer a planet), and several asteroids, and got me a refund. Taylor should be promoted to VP, Customer Service, in order to provide SERVICE to your premium clients (heck, why not provide a little service to all your clients?). We little Linkers drive your business, too.
P.S. I’d bet that your revenues would rise, as well.