CX Insights

Helping Telecom Companies Catch a Break on Social Media

The fragment of statue of Cain by Henry Vidal in Tuileries Garden in Paris, France
4 min read

Over recent years, social networks have fast become the primary platform for customers to engage with telecom brands about issues relating to specific products or services. Not only are these social platforms a place where companies can listen to customer interactions and proactively tackle customer complaints, but it’s also an opportunity for telecom brands to really get creative and seek active engagement.

For example, UK service provider O2 won a Shorty Award in 2014 for their ‘Be more dog’ campaign, which encouraged users to step away from their indifferent and ‘cat-like’ tendencies to see the world through the excitable eyes of man’s best friend. As one of their approaches, O2 used social media to create a ‘Be more dog social kennel hub’, where every day they tracked down online users who were being too ‘cat’ and sent them white water rafting, surfing, skydiving, and even diving with sharks. The campaign inspired over 50,000 online conversations and over 1 million visits to its web pages, resulting in a record peak in sentiment of conversation to +36%.

Yet, why is it that when we visit the social pages of huge telecom companies, such as O2, we are inundated with messages of anger and frustration. Even when brands are using their social strategy to promote exceptional offers or freebies, it seems they can’t catch a break from the obscenities of their exasperated customers.

The Social Struggle

Take a look at this innocent post from Verizon. It’s a video featuring LeBron James which advertises their new data plan. Yet the comments are infiltrated with complaints, with each comment being ‘liked’ by multiple users.

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Or this exclusive perk shared by AT&T offering 2 for 1 movie tickets which is only met with negativity.

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Even when telecom companies respond to the complaints they receive and attempt to offer help, the frustration is rarely contained and the backlash appears to continue.

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To elaborate, back in 2012, O2 experienced widespread network problems which left hundreds of thousands of its customers without 2G and 3G services (before the good old days of 4G), crashing mobile, landline and broadband connectivity. Many of these customers took to Twitter to vent their frustrations. In fact, according to marketing agency Wunderman, the network’s new Twitter followers increased from an average of 155 to 13,500 per day during the two-day outage. Taking many people by surprise, O2 tried to take the hit lightly and inject some personality into their responses, but unfortunately, the hate just kept coming.

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In fact, it seems that a customer scorned takes no shame in where they post their feelings. Even when telecom companies are simply sharing fun or playful images relating to topical or cultural events, the feedback is less than encouraging.

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Understandably, telecom companies appear to be quite bashful about these spouts of online hate that come their way on social network pages and some appear to be trying to hide the original comments. Although it’s clear from their responses that these were, again, negative posts and complaints.

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In today’s connected world, one of the most damaging things for a brand to have is negative comments plastered over the walls of their social media accounts. Yet it seems the Telecom industry just can’t catch a break. The examples we’ve explored only reiterate that users see social media as an accessible and open channel to mindlessly leave loaded feedback. This is where a solution like user feedback comes in handy.

Implementing User Feedback

Although many telecom companies already employ some form of feedback solution, the options we’ve seen are clearly not meeting user demands. As this post demonstrates, the connected generation favours methods that are quick, easy, and don’t involve picking up the phone. Users want to be able to leave sufficient feedback with the same amount of effort it would take to hit ‘enter’ on a loaded Facebook comment. They don’t want to be put through unnecessarily long questionnaires and matrix rating systems.

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Usabilla allows users to tell companies what they’re thinking in just a few clicks. What’s more, with our screenshot and metadata functionalities the context of the problem can be effortlessly translated. As Forrester highlights – download the complimentary report here – being able to select specific elements for which to provide feedback, makes for a much more positive customer experience.

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Not only is a user feedback solution such as ours efficient for the most frustrated of users, but it allows any complaints and negativity to be contained to a hidden backend, where they can be identified and dealt with effectively.

So, despite the sympathetic giggles we may have gotten from writing this post, is it time for telecom brands to stop allowing their dirty laundry to be aired on social media and get on board with better user feedback?

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Robyn Collinge
As Usabilla's Copywriter, Robyn brings nice words together - like peanut butter, napping, and Sunday brunch.