So you phone the company concerned, and even after identifying yourself the agent has no idea why you're calling until you explain from scratch. Tedious.
It's also increasingly common for people to turn to online forums as an initial source of help rather than using vendors' own customer care services. (That could be because they've become frustrated with help lines that keep them on hold for excessive periods before suggesting things they've already tried before resorting to the old standby of reinstalling the operating system and other software.)
Financial software vendor Intuit has found that 70% of customer service questions are being fulfilled by other customers via social media, said Eric Tamblyn, vice president, product marketing, contact centre solutions, in Alcatel-Lucent's enterprise division.
Even where a forum is operated by the vendor concerned, answers are usually left to fellow users. But wouldn't it be better if the company was alerted if a satisfactory answer hadn't been received within say 48 hours?
Alcatel-Lucent's Genesys operation thinks it has a solution for these and other problems. Genesys 8, released earlier this year, is a major rewrite of Genesys' flagship product for customer service.
With more than 30 million lines of code, Genesys 8 has a modular structure to allow the one underlying product to serve the needs of contact centres (Genesys' traditional market), back office, and self-service.
Its features include Conversation Manager, a component that makes data collected in one channel available to others. "It's like a state engine," explained Mr Tamblyn, adding that it doesn't require web developers to do anything differently as it is XML based. There has been "very strong acceptance of Conversation Manager," he claimed.
Genesys used its G-Force user conference in Melbourne this week to reveal a new strategy designed to allow its clients to bring social media into their broader customer communication workflows. The idea is that external events such as forum posts and Facebook or Twitter messages will be pushed into the Genesys router and processed along with more traditional events such as an incoming phone call.
"Most enterprises are only using social media to advertise," said Mr Tamblyn. Instead, they need to listen to social media, prioritise what's heard, engage with relevant individuals, and integrate social media with other customer interactions.
Genesys isn't the first supplier to address this issue. Earlier this year, RightNow announced a new version of its customer experience suite that included the ability to monitor social networks.