It’s a widely known fact by now that Vodafone Australia isn’t having the best year from a brand perception point of view. They’ve been dragged into every mishap & challenge, and widely exposed for their flaws on every media channel, including Social Media. Although Vodafail website has ceased to receive new complaints earlier this year, the stories and complaints haven’t stopped. Whatever Vodafone Australia do, they seem to get it wrong. The brand damage they’ve caused with their lack of service (I refer to their mobile coverage and internet service) will be very challenging for them to repair. It will take YEARS to change that public perception. People already associate them with “you get what you pay for”, and not in a good sense. Vodafone also had their fair share of Social Media blunders, which brings me to my personal experience: I own an iPad which I bought from Vodafone earlier this year. I didn’t have any high hopes for their mobile/service coverage, and pretty much counted on the fact I will mainly be in a WiFi area (home / office), and if in need, I’ll use my Telstra iPhone’s hotspot to gain fast internet connection wherever I can’t connect to the Vodafone 3G network (most of the time). Last week it was one of these occasions where I couldn’t connect. This time I decided to to vent, subtly:
Six (6) hours later, Vodafone has responded. Note: I contacted them via their own registered twitter handle (albeit not their primary, since they have registered one without the underscore.) Their response was polite, and willing to help:
I responded immediately:
This time I got really frustrated. This became a Twitter chat around Vodafone Service with another disgruntled Vodafone customer @LaneBurdett. Lane and I chatted on the 27th of September. (If you click on (@LaneBurdett) you’ll see the entire conversation). Vodafone has responded the next day. Nice. #sarcasm. The 28th of September was a Friday, leading to October’s Long weekend. Tuesday morning (October 2nd) I receive this:
You’ll notice it says October 1, 2012, but this is US time. Not Australia. This is what I see when timezone settings are correct:
BTW, this is how I know they are using Radian6. Not rocket science or Black Magic here…
What does this all mean? My take on this incident is that Vodafone has invested in technology, and allocated resources to respond to brand mentions on Twitter, and probably on their Facebook pages. I’m not sure whether it’s run internally or by an outsourced PR/Advertising agency? But that’s not the point. My point here is that Vodafone has the technology and people, but that’s not enough. There’s something missing from the company’s engagement in Social Media.
1. Socia Media is 24/7. It doesn’t stop on weekends, public holidays, or after hours. If you’re involved with Social Media in your business, you’d need to take this into consideration.
2. Social Media isn’t free. Technology (Radian6 in this case) is the starting point. Then you have to hire people to work with the technology 24/7. That’s not cheap.
3. People and Technology is a good start. Then you would need to have good processes and governance, coupled with good company-wide training. Once this is in place…