o2 iPhone Twitter Experiment: Concluded

Last week, I started an experiment to see if o2 would respond to a tweet I sent shattering into the Twittersphere.

The aim of the experiment was to see if I would get direct contact with someone from o2 who might be able to help me upgrade to an iPhone, without speaking to anyone from o2. It was a kind of a test too see if they would respond to a seemingly random tweet from someone they’d never heard from before.

Well, a bit disappointingly, they didn’t. As rightly suggested by several people ‘why not just @ them?’. Well, I could have done, but that would defeat the object. I have no qualms with o2 about a non-reply, and I have no issues with their customer service – let me make this quite clear. I have been with o2 for more years than I care to remember and they’ve always been pretty good.

What this demonstrates is that for brands who have an active presence online, the goal posts have shifted. For consumers online, the goal posts have shifted. For consumers offline, the goal posts are that little bit further away.

There have been several stories about brands actively engaging their customers on Twitter to solve issues. Comcast have a real person behind the scenes helping with queries for example. This means that a customer can have an issue resolved in real time and can get answers from a brand representative almost instantaneously, and, because it’s on Twitter, there’s a bigger prize than if the conversation was conducted over the phone.

Is this leading to Twitter snobbery? By using Twitter to engage with those customers online, are brands neglecting every customers who are not online, letalone on Twitter? This is a big issue that may leave some feeling a bit miffed to say the least. Why should Granny Smith be queue jumped by Tom 2.0 just because Tom is on Twitter? She shouldn’t, in reality she should probably get priority, but, because any failure to deal with a problem could spread like wildfire on our favourite micro-blogging platform, this happens.

So what has the experiment taught us?

Our expectations are changing. As customers we expect instant resolution; as brands we are expected to react within minutes, and this is an issue which is only going to grow.


3 thoughts on “o2 iPhone Twitter Experiment: Concluded

  1. Hi Matt
    My name is JP and I’m part of the team that runs our online activity. This means I look after our O2UKOfficial Twitter channel as well as our presence on YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and other external forums.

    First of all, I’d like to apologise for the fact that you didn’t get a reply to your tweet mentioning O2. We do constantly search for people discussing O2 on Twitter and will often respond where it’s appropriate, even if we’ve never spoken to the person before. As you mentioned in your original post, we weren’t in the office on the evening of Easter Sunday and so didn’t manage to pick up on your message.

    In answer to your original question, unfortunately there is no way for you to upgrade early to an iPhone without terminating your contract early (by paying the remaining months’ subscription) and then taking a new one. While I am happy to talk to you in general terms about this, I won’t be able to give you specific account information over Twitter as we take data security very seriously and you’ll need to call us up to do some security checks first. You can find numbers to contact us on at http://www.o2.co.uk/iwt_contactus. You might also want to have a look at which O2 Priority List level you belong to – you might be entitled to an early upgrade through that scheme.

    We’ve set up our channel on Twitter to help us listen to what our customers are saying and be a helpful part of the Twitter community, however we’re unable to act as a full-time alternative to our dedicated, highly trained and award winning Customer Service team. We do our best to respond to messages where that’s appropriate, whether they’re directed specifically at us or not, and hope this explanation helps explain why we missed it.


  2. Pingback: o2 iPhone Twitter Experiment « The Seldom Seen Kid

  3. Hey JP, thanks for taking the time to respond – it’s really appreciated!

    My reasoning for posting on the Easter Sunday was to see if there was anyone who’d respond – i noticed that the main o2 account had been active so i thought it was worth a try :-)

    I think it’s important for brands to connect with their customers, and also, if not equally important, it is crucial that customers are patient and courteous, no matter how long the response takes.

    It’s great that you and o2 are taking the initiative – to be monitoring the vast expanse of the Twittersphere and the blogosphere is a difficult thing to do and it’s not surpising that sometimes mentions might go unnoticed.

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