Customer Engagement with Wireless Carriers
During the past few evenings, I’ve had conversations on Twitter with disgruntled iPhone owners, new Palm Pre users, BlackBerry Crackheads like me and other passionate people who love mobile devices but are venting.
But where are mobile carrier and manufacturer Twitter members? Why aren’t they online responding to their customers and would be customers?
iPhone users, in particular, are mad as Hell about AT&T’s lack of MMS and tethering support. They don’t understand why Apple enabled these functions on the iPhone while AT&T waffles about their availability. Today AT&T slapped a programmer in the face who had devised a software work-a-round providing users with both functions, threatening customers with enormous data bills.
Customer Satisfaction and Tweeting
As I write this post, AT&T iPhone customers continue venting. Here’s a sample of the tweets:
“What’s The Best Choice For A Current AT&T Customer. Purchase A New iPhone Now, Wait Until You Have An Upgrade or Add A Line.”
“#iPhone is the best. However, #AT&T is full of fail.”
“AT&T & O2 Might Terminate Your Service if You Tether with an iPhone.”
It’s Thursday night, the day before Apple and AT&T launch the new 3Gs. Where are the product managers from these companies? Why are they not online with customers and would-be customers who have legitimate questions and concerns that need answering NOW?
I’ve written numerous blog posts about the failure of the mobile carriers to get their customer service act together. They have yet to realize that customer service is not just answering phone calls in call centers or responding to emails. Customer care in the age of Twitter is an ongoing conversation and dialog that must occur in real time.
Carriers are struggling to increase average revenue per customer through smartphone data plans. If that’s the goal, then the carriers and manufacturers MUST understand that the dialog, the conversation, the engagement of customers and sellers is happening NOW–in this moment, in this time frame.
The old model of “call us in the morning” is gone forever.