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O2: When Social Customer Service is Done Right

Marie Rose
By Marie Rose on Jul 12, 2012 1:42:00 PM

In a world where people are completely dependent on their mobile phones, losing service for a day can leave them infuriated. Yesterday afternoon, a select group of O2 users experienced just that, when their services went out for 24 hours.

Affected customers took to Twitter to complain about their inability to make or receive calls and text messages, or to use their data. The dissatisfied customers flooded the social network with criticism for O2, while the company was working behind the scenes to fix the problem and deliver exceptional customer service.

When the network problem that affected thousands of O2, GiffGaff and Tesco Mobile customers first broke out, O2 did not immediately respond. There was some early criticism that it took them a little too long to really speak up, simply posting a status message on their website. Throughout the 24 hours, they continued to update their homepage with the newest information, as well as tips on how to get the best coverage possible, like switching from 3G to 2G. A status tracker page explained how they were working to fix the issue, and what to do if customer’s phone services still weren’t working, but given the high volume of traffic from anxious customers, this site was slow and pretty unresponsive. 

But today, the second day of the issue has been handled completely differently. What was most impressive was the magic that O2 worked with their Twitter handle. As thousands of complaints poured in, O2 spent all of today responding to every tweet that was being sent in, sometimes up to 10 per minute. To the people writing in with questions as to when their service would return, O2’s social customer service team gave them an apology, a status update, and a suggestion as to what action to take – all within the 140 character limit.

The social media team started getting a bit of buzz around Twitter, for the responses that they were sending to the more colorful complaints being sent their way. Instead of simply ignoring posts containing foul language, O2 responded with witty messages that made their other customers giggle, and lightened the overall mood of the whole disaster. The tweets being sent to O2 completely shifted from being mostly complaints about the company, to mostly praise for the people working on the social customer service team for their funny Twitter responses. For what could have been a huge crisis for the company, O2 used Twitter to deliver fast, professional customer service, and still maintained their brand image by adding humor and personality to their tweets.

As is always the case, O2 found it impossible to completely satisfy everyone. In fact, some customers tweeted to O2 that their cheerful and breezy approach to the situation had made them feel like the company wasn’t taking the problem seriously. O2 tried their best to assure their customers that they were working to deliver useful customer service. Situations like this are tough, as there’s no way to please everyone, but how do you get as close as possible?

Now that the O2 outage is over and we’ve all got our service back, why don’t we take a look at a selection of some of the tweets that made us giggle at our desks today. You can find some of our favorites at the bottom of this post. We love for you to share some examples of customer service messages that made you smile in the comments below!

Were you affected by the O2 service outage? Do you think they took the right approach with their Twitter account? We’re interested to hear your opinions in the comments below.

Got any suggestions for what you’d like to hear from us? Send your thoughts to marie@conversocial.com, or @Conversocial. We’re always looking for new ideas.


Topics: Brand Stories, Twitter

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