A Facebook post that floated past my timline (see image above) from serial telco critic Vinnie Mirchandani, followed by an indignant Tweet by Ilona Hitel
— Ilona Hitel (@ilonah) August 14, 2013
...got me thinking. I wondered what content appears on telco Facebook pages.
Exhibit #1 - Verizon Wireless: 5,870,290 likes · 56,596 talking about this · 168,063 were here. Wow! But then look at the stories that appear in the time line. How about this one:
For $200.00 you too could own a refurbished piece of crap that is worth $6.00 because they will tell you they don't have it in stock. Talk about a rip off. I know this because 2 s Verizon stores told me that. They told me I was taken for a ride.
Exhibit #2 - Vodafone Spain: 291,386 likes · 2,177 talking about this - impressive. But then read this.
Que desastre, que mala organización y que poca profesionalidad tiene esta gente de Vodafone, tienes un problema llamas a atención al cliente siendo cliente varios años, y cada persona te dice una solución completamente diferente unos te dicen blanco otros te dicen negro, vas a una tienda y te dicen completamente lo contrario. Esto es increíble.
Even if you don't read Spanish the first couple of words should be sufficient.
Exhibit #3 - O2 UK: 862,211 likes · 14,521 talking about this · 48,644 were here. Cripes - these telcos sure are popular. Or are they? Check this out?
Disappointed in the 4G promise, it's so not what they told me in store. What's the point? I have to pay you more money after I already paid for my iPhone, Why do I have to pay you more money on top of that! I can't even change my useless tariff on which I get hardly any 3G reception and my calls always drop and I forever see that little o most times when I used data.
Hmm...looks like they're not doing so well after all.
Exhibit #4 - Three UK: 160,298 likes · 3,107 talking about this. But then...
also supposed to be carrying my old 02 phone no. over to 3g today and it hasnt happened and customer service say pac code doesnt work and they have no record??? even though I have a reference no.!
Is there a pattern here?
Exhibit #5 - Vodafone India: 686,031 likes · 9,212 talking about this
Seriously you guys follow marketing Fundaes to the t. The network sucks and you have actually positioned it as a strength...really hilarious and quite appalled that you think customers are fools:)
Exhibit #6 - AT&T: 4,709,440 likes · 114,383 talking about this · 153,726 were here. Surely they can do better?
How about you guys take the pledge to provide better customer service?? And more than that, actually DO it. And don't tell people who have been with you for over ten or fifteen years "nothing I can do for you".
Now - for those doing the math, this random selection of telcos reflect 12,579,656 likes and yet all the above post quotes appear on the first page of each telco's page. Now of course there are always going to be moaners and complainers but you can find this kind of selection any day of the week you choose to visit these telco pages.
There is a flipside. There are plenty of people willing to sing the telco praises but what surprises is me is the inconsistent service responses that often look disinterested or failing to read the message. Bot anyone? Take these examples from O2:
In the first, the person says they've already given the postcode yet O2 asks for it again. That must be incredibly frustrating. In the second, O2 basically blows the customer off. Nice.
This pattern and/or a variation on it is repeated again and again. Over at Vodafone India for instance, the response to the irate customer quoted above is to ask for a number where they can be reached to 'address their concerns.' It doesn't make sense. Vodafone Spain seems to go around in circles with its customers.
Part of the problem is that the way Facebook allows anyone to comment on pretty much anything means what starts out as a problem can become a muddled mish mash of ire, attempts to resolve, random comments supporting the telco and goodness knows what. Check this AT&T thread about an outage to see what I mean.
Another part of the problem is that I can no longer distinguish what a 'like' really means. Does it mean that 'x' people really do like these services or any other service for that matter? If the chaotic content I easily found is an indicator, then the answer must surely be 'no.'
Facebook has long been touted as one of the most important channels through which to reach and connect with markets. Yet these random examples suggest to me this isn't working so well. The good news is we get to see how well (or rather badly) the telcos are meeting customer expectations. Sort of.