Why I Loathe Hootsuite (and Love SproutSocial)
“Hate” is a strong word, so I’ll just say that I loathe Hootsuite. I was a HootSuite user for about 2 years, and now will never go back to them due to ongoing, increasingly horrible experiences with them as a (formerly loyal) client.
It all started when I was participating in a live weekly twitter conversation known as #latism (Latinos in Social Media). The fast-paced, real-time conversations call for extreme vigilance in order to keep up. When I started participating heavily in the #latism chats, I started to notice that HootSuite would miss an @reply here and there. That is where my distrust of them began.
Giant Problem #1
By day I am a social media strategist, so I am in charge of a team of people that manage the social presences of several clients. I very much appreciated certain HootSuite features that streamline that process (especially the team features that allowed my community managers to assign a tweet to me if they were unsure of how to respond to it). That means that we pay the upgraded account fee in order to do so. No problem there. I get e-mail notifications of payments made for this monthly service, which is how I noticed that one week they charged me every. single. day. for the full fee. After the third charge, I tweeted at @hootsuite_help and @hootsuite to get a convenient, quick reply. Tweet after tweet, they ignored my cries for help. Finally, they responded with a really cold, unhelpful tweet directing me to an 800 number in order to file customer service ticket. I e-mailed them instead and they said they weren’t sure what caused the problem but that they would fix it. Hmm, I thought, how can you fix a problem that you don’t know the root of? I trusted that they’d find the solution and resolve the problem. After being charged several more times, they finally stopped the problem and refunded the excess charges. It took WAY too long to 1) get a response from them and 2) have the problem stopped. To be fair, they were quick to issue a refund.
Giant Problem #2
Once my boiling blood dropped to mild simmer from the billing and customer service fiasco, yet another issue arose. I secured an interview with celebrity chef Rick Bayless for my project Food Truck Freak, and published the article with his insights. I kept an eye on HootSuite to see if people liked it enough to retweet it, keeping my fingers crossed that the Twitter-savvy uber-influential chef himself would retweet it. According to what came through my HootSuite dashboard, only 3 people retweeted the article. The day after publishing the article, I hopped on my SproutSocial account (which I only use to use for its analytics) and, low and behold, the chef had retweeted the article, along with 26 other people. As I scrolled through my SproutSocial inbox seeing the RTs and @replies that hadn’t come through on HootSuite, my heart rate went up with every additional missed engagement.
A missed @reply or an occassional delayed customer service response is one excusable. However, for Hootsuite these became habitual and thus inexcusable. Now, I am a super content SproutSocial user and have no plans in going back. The minor blips here and there I’ve experienced with SproutSocial are not ones that have been in any way detrimental to my productivity, my reputation, nor my bank account. Moreover, they have been so insignificant that they have not affected my trust of their service. Plus, if there ever were a problem, the SproutSocial customer service is crazy awesome at responding to tweets (I have asked them questions as I got accustomed to their dashboard) and now you can even call them.
Peace out, HootSuite. For good.