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.