~ 5 Minute 15 Second Read | Audio version below
Happy Canada Day long weekend!
Every year I make it a point to celebrate Canada Day whether it be going to the fireworks, having a barbecue, or knocking back some drinks (pre-midnight poutine binge). Ah, what a perfect day of celebration.
* Actual photo of my poutine, Canada Day 2015.
Last year, I joined my client Blend Bubble Tea at Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam, B.C. as they had their first ever food truck. That wasn’t the only first though. I have a story from my first attempt at creating a Snapchat Geofilter. An event that drove me into panic mode and forced me to have real management skills.
As a graphic designer, I had been familiar with Snapchat Geofilters only as an audience by seeing them in use. For Canada Day, Blend wanted to create one for themselves. Since their store originates in Port Coquitlam and the event would be in Coquitlam they figured seeing others post about it locally would help to promote it. I completely agreed and went on to figure out the specs and format of the design. I had read over Snapchat’s terms of service in which they state to submit the filter at least a day beforehand. Which I did… the day before the event.
In the morning, they had started setting up for the event around 9:00am. I was meant to meet them there by 10:30am and the filter was intended to go live by 10:00am. I had a bit of concern as they were supposed to send me an e-mail of confirmation once the filter had been reviewed. I figured upon receipt of the approval e-mail is when I would provide my credit card number for it to go live. (In case for some reason it would decline, I wouldn’t have already paid). So at about 10:30am I started panicking.
Concerned with this being my first time trying to set it up, I tried to contact Snapchat. Which, if any of you have ever tried to do, you may know that they don’t have their contact information anywhere. It was on their website that I then realized, I had submitted to the “Community” board. This is when your Geofilter may be selected randomly, but it’s not a purchased order that is guaranteed to go live. At this point, I’m freaking out. Blend is texting me wondering if it’s gone up, I should be leaving to go meet them, and I feel I have failed them.
Now, it’s the day of the event and I know you need to have sent in the artwork at least 24 hours before it gets reviewed. I figured maybe I could be an exception since I technically have, I just sent it into the wrong category. So, back I was to the MIA contact information. The only support I could find was a Twitter account and there was no way that I was describing my problem in an 140 character limit.
So, I put my thinking cap on and conned my way into e-mailing them.
Side note: Please, if you are under the same circumstance as me, don’t use this method. Learn from my mistake and know that you should give yourself a safety net of timing and not submit last minute. I don’t want to get anyone from Snapchat in trouble or create an influx of e-mails towards them that they clearly try hard to avoid.
There was some form that I found on their website that going back and scanning for now; I can’t even find. It had to do with being a business customer (someone who pays Snapchat for advertising or other products/services). Instead of listing their e-mail, you had to fill out the form with your name, e-mail, message, and a purchase order code. With all hope lost I figured, what would it hurt? And in the purchase order field I entered “XXX”. To my surprise, it actually worked. I successfully contacted Snapchat through all of the obstacles. Now, the waiting game.
I received a reply about 15 minutes in that gave me little to nothing. I wrote a whole paragraph and received back:
“Our team does not receive any Community Geofilter submissions. Please resubmit your design as an On-Demand Geofilter. :)”
I had already mentioned the fact that I submitted mine yesterday and it was for an immovable event today. At this point in time, it was nearing 11:00am so I decided to leave for Lafarge Lake. With experience dealing with customer service reps or previously working in a hospitality industry myself, I knew that they have company protocols they need to stick to. I felt receiving that e-mail telling me something I already knew was going to become a broken record of back and forth… but eager to please my clients, I pushed a little further.
Now, I was at Lafarge Lake when I got a response that was sent from the heavens.
HALLELUJAH! I was ecstatic. But that’s not where my idiocracy ends.
I finally sent it in again (this time in the appropriate category) and as I was in such a rush to get it live, I didn’t look at any of the details. My wi-fi was battling in and out and I just knew I needed to get it done. Without realizing, I had accidentally set it for 1 hour and I wanted to have the largest area selected. The god-send that this Snapchat employee was, confirmed the time frame with me (knowing I’m obviously flustered) in which I replied – “that was not intentional. Can we make it the full day? You can charge my card the appropriate amount.”
What would normally be an annoyance in her reply, (she can’t make any modifications on her end so I would have to cancel it and resubmit a second time) – saved my bank account. I didn’t want to cause her any more trouble so instead of putting up a fight, I did as she asked. In the process, I discovered the price listed for the Geofence amongst the hours we selected (all day) was upwards of $1000+. Imagine if this lady was in it for the money and just charged my card as I asked? Struck with relief, I reselected the area and time frame and created an affordable filter that went live immediately.
Honestly, everyone makes mistakes. In my case: more than one. I am so thankful for the patience of everyone that was involved. I was so nervous to tell the Blend employees who I could tell were disappointed at first but kept their understanding. To the Snapchat customer support – I promised her I would remain a loyal Snapchatter and that her help was without a doubt the best customer service experience I have received online. She was not only patient and understanding; but she wrote to me in a calm and polite manner. I respected her process in problem solving and she made me want to tell everyone how fantastic she was.
This story is a big one for me as a freelancer and one that I feel (if it wasn’t so long) would be perfect in an interview when asked how to solve a problem or overcome any issues. It’s a moment in time when I felt more like a business woman that got stuff done as opposed to apologizing and not pursuing any route to fix it. I’ve never been the type of person that likes confrontation and I respect company policies as I know how frustrating it can be when people don’t agree with them.
Though I would like to point out (not to boost my ego but more to inform others) that I handled this by not getting angry. I handled it by professionally explaining what had happened, accepting their feedback and policy, and asking for an exception in the mutual agreement that I will have learnt from my experience the correct way to proceed in the future.
Thank you again to the lady that helped me, I appreciate your efforts and patience. (I blocked out her name in case her exemption to me may have been against the rules).
I hope you take away from this story that it’s okay to ask for special treatment from time to time. After all, online support is there for that reason: to help you. As someone trying to start her own freelance business, I’ve always been intimidated by the “business man” or “business woman”. The strong, confident types that don’t take shit from anyone. I see how intimidating others can maybe help you get ahead but we’re all people. If you treat someone like an actual person and open up in a way that they know you respect them – that’s all that’s needed. I can tell you first hand that when people are caring and polite, I try everything I can to help them. I’m not saying it will always work out – but the effort is there. And to those of you that yell and argue to get your way, you make it much more difficult for others to want to help. Customer service isn’t a catering gig, it’s an effort to make sure you have the best experience there is to offer.
I hope everyone has a fantastic Canada Day long weekend!
To those of you local to us, come check out Blend Bubble Tea tomorrow as we will be back in a booth at Lafarge Lake. If you want to see how the event went down last year, you can check out my video below:
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