Should you quit advertising on Facebook? Of course not, it’s advertising crack and it’s highly effective. There’s no doubting that the Facebook Ads platform delivers results, offers some amazing targeting options, and has some pretty slick features like the Power Editor and Business Manager. These are all reasons why you should advertise on Facebook. But let’s explore the main reason why you’ll want to get someone to do that for you: Facebook’s abysmal customer service.
Facebook’s Terrible Customer Service
I know what you’re thinking; this is just another rant by someone who had a bad experience. It is and I did but it’s not just me and it’s a trend worth noting. In fact, a 2014 press release from the American Customer Satisfaction Index found that Facebook ranks as one of “the worst in the industry” when it comes to customer service. Paul Greenberg at ZDNet agrees, criticizing “the frantic efforts of Facebook to treat its members like assets rather than like customers.” Personally, this last statement resonates with me and perfectly sums up my latest experience with Facebook’s Global Marketing Solutions team.
A client we manage at Anvil budgets about $500K a year for their Facebook ad spend, a good chunk of business for any agency. The ad account for this client was “temporarily suspended” due to “suspicious activity” and with little more than an email, a half a million a year spend came to a screeching halt. Normally, you’d pick up a phone and call your account rep, right? Not the case with Facebook, who days later explained to me via email that “unfortunately we are not dedicated account representatives.” There’s no way to actually get someone on the phone from Facebook which only compounds the problem when needing to deal with the billing department, the security department, etc.
“Unfortunately we are not dedicated account representatives.”
—Facebook Global Marketing Solutions Team Member
Response times are sloth like and when they do finally call you, they offer only lip-service with zero ability to resolve the issue themselves. Contrast this with Twitter who has a dedicated rep that contacts me almost every week and walks me through my orders, or Google who sent a team to our office just last week for personal over-the-shoulder training that our PPC team was extremely grateful for. Any of these vendors I can reach by phone during normal business hours. Kudos to them.
Cleaning Up Facebook’s Mess
We were able rectify the situation internally by quickly pivoting to an Anvil owned billing account, but this is a luxury most businesses don’t always have. It was eventually discovered (after much unnecessary hassle with the client) that there was no suspicious activity and that this was a random security audit gone awry. Doing my job, I brought all of this to Facebook’s attention but was offered nothing in the form of restitution for the hours of work and missed media commissions their audit cost us. The problem with Facebook is that they are simply too large of a beast to care. As a customer service oriented Account Manager who has worked in ad sales and had to correct many similar issues, it rubs me the wrong way that Facebook doesn’t offer more support. Any other vendor we work with would have offered a “makegood” of some type, usually in the form of a credit toward future advertising, as a show of goodwill for a digital agency that spends as much or has the influence that we do.
I share Greenberg’s sentiments again: “my customer experience sucked basically because of the entire process they have set up which makes restoration of a hacked account far too difficult coupled with an inability to speak to a live person coupled with exceptionally slow response times to emails and queries.”
My suggestion to Facebook is that if you’re going to take the time to perform a security audit that will potentially affect the spend of tens of thousands of dollars, take the time to get it right and maybe think about reaching out via the telephone should you find something suspicious. My suggestion to clients is that you get someone with the experience and agility of an agency like Anvil to manage it for you.
Jeshe Burch is the lead Media Buyer at Anvil and has been working in the Portland advertising industry since Seinfeld was still in production. Feel free to tweet at him @jesheburch or connect on LinkedIn.