Coke and Pepsi. Nike and Adidas. Apple and Samsung. These are three examples of the fiercest brand competitors this day in age. This past weekend, I got to experience first hand a battle between two Canadian brand giants, who used the tools of social media to upstage their biggest industry rivals.
After receiving some poor customer service from my current phone provider, Rogers Wireless, this past weekend, I felt a strong urge to vent my built up cell phone frustrations. Now, normally I am a very pleasant customer, and as a firm believer in karma, I always do my best to be patient and kind when dealing with customer service representatives. But I felt like conducting my own mini experiment, prompted by my recent exposure to the eye-opening video on Social Media Triage featuring Paul Cubbon. Instead of calling up customer service on my phone like many people normally do, I was curious to try the social media route and see if I could get my problems resolved online. I went on the Rogers Facebook page, posted a comment to their wall, and waited anxiously for their reply. Unfortunately, their social media office hours were already done for the day, so I didn’t get a reply until the next day. Sidenote — hasn’t Rogers ever heard that social media operates 24/7, and their could be valuable conversations and opportunities that they are missing out on by shutting down operations at such an early hour??? — End tangent. Anyways, the next morning I awoke to a reply from a Rogers’ rep, AND a new friend request from (drumroll please)…. Bell Canada! I couldn’t believe it! Bell clearly had been doing their homework and were all over their monitoring and listening to conversations around the web. Not only was Bell concerned with what their customers were saying about them, but also what their competitor’s unhappy customers were saying, in totally different online conversations.
After this ironic turn of events, I finally got around to reading the reply from Rogers. It said “Hey Rebecca, what phone/plan were you looking to get? We would be happy to review things with you via PM if you’d like – Andrew” . I was thrilled to get a reply, and I had high hopes that my issues would be resolved after I explained the situation more thoroughly in a personal message. I proceed to write and send a message back to Andrew, and eagerly waiting for his response. In fact, I waited a few days, and yet nothing came into my inbox.
I found a few things very interesting about this whole situation, and Rogers’ approach to their Social Media Triage.
- Rogers replied to EVERY SINGLE post on their Facebook page. By doing this, their replies did not seem as sincere or specific, and they began to overwhelm the forum. Also, not only did they reply to all of the positive comments, but all the negative and harsh ones as well posted by unhappy customers, dedicated complainers, and comedian want-to-be’s
- Rogers took the damaging conversation off the public page to a personal message (insert applause here), but then proceeded to ignore my requested message completely! Huh?
- A HUGE difference between the Facebook pages of Rogers and Bell is the security settings. Rogers’ page is completely public and anyone can view and post, regardless if they liked the corporate page or not. Bell on the other hand is completely private and secure, and you must be friends with them in order to view their page. Since Rogers is public, Bell is able to monitor the conversations going on in their competitor’s online forum, and is able to help mend situations by providing alternatives to unhappy customers. Alternatively, Rogers is does not reap the same benefits of being able to freely monitor their close competitor quite as easily.
I am still curious though, as the cell phone industry is known for having a generally unhappy and outspoken customer base, is this traditional form of Social Media Triage inadequate here? What modifications are needed to the Tree in order to suit this industry better? And, is it necessary to respond to every comment made about the brand, whether it be positive or negative?
Also, I am curious to see some statistics on how successful Bell’s approach at gaining new clients is through their social media stealing strategy.
Let me know what you think!