I took the above Instagr.am photo the other day when I was in Baltimore waiting to hop on a plane back to London. I obviously arsed around selecting all manner of different silly filters before deciding the one above was most appropriate. Why, I don’t know. That’s instagr.am for you.
I snapped the photo as I wanted to remember Delta. The photo is the top corner of a Delta Airlines advertisement in the current Fast Company magazine. The advert points out that Delta now has a ‘new way to listen’ which ‘means a new way to help’. Yup. Delta is now on Twitter.
By now, we all know what that means: An instant (and usually highly informed) response mechanism.
Taking a look at Delta’s Twitter account right now, you can see they’re very busy already responding to customers.
Indeed I’d go so far to assume that tweeting Delta will get you a quicker response than phoning them — for most standard enquiries.
Delta’s gone somewhat further than most companies on Twitter, though. They’ve gone 24/7.
That’s right — you can tweet them anytime.
Which brings me to Vodafone. The company has long been leading the way when it comes to ‘e’ stuff — their e-forum team are second-to-none and their response times (and resolution rates) on Twitter are legendary. It took other operators months and quarters to even get to grips with the whole concept of actually talking with their customers.
I remember having a bet with Ben Smith over at Wireless Worker about whether T-Mobile’s rather ‘green’ Twitter account would engage in any banter whatsoever with him. The team running it instructed the person-on-the-keyboard to ignore all messages except those specifically relating to a T-Mobile issue. Ben tried to engage — you know, say hello, ask them how their day was going and so on. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I bet him a meal at Claridges if he could get a response out of them.
Vodafone, Three, Orange, o2 — they’d all banter with you. Not excessively, mind you, but you know, enough to say hello. T-Mobile did the social media equivalent of sitting in the corner with a face like thunder for months on end. Thankfully they have lightened up nowadays.
My problem, though, is that to my knowledge, no mobile operator in the UK runs a 24/7 Twitter account. This is an arse for me. I routinely ask @VodafoneUK questions during the day — sometimes questions that inform or related to the content here on MIR — and I always get a prompt and helpful answer. This facility stops at 5pm. Or is it 6pm? I can’t quite remember.
Actually I just looked.
So it’s 11pm now, and that tweet was 3 hours ago… so Vodafone does 8am-8pm daily.
That’s reasonable. It’s better than I expected actually.
I’m pretty sure ThreeUK doesn’t do that. Let’s have a look:
Ooof! SIX hours ago? Come on Johanna! What’s that.. it’s 11pm now, minus 6… ThreeUK stops Twitter service at FIVE pm? (Although after a quick scan of their feed, I’m pleased to see, incidentally, that they do recommend Hullomail). Come on Three! What’s going on!
Let’s look at o2/Telefonica, what are they doing?
Well it looks like they were still going at 10pm. Impressive.
How about T-Mobile?
Well there you go. T-Mobile were live until 6pm. That’s an hour better than Three.
What about Orange?
Unfortunately the team at Orange didn’t sign-out, although the fact their last message was 6 hours ago leads me to assume they’re doing similar hours to ThreeUK.
It’s not good news, operators.
I think the absolute minimum should be 8am ’til 8pm. I think ‘good’ would be 8am until 10pm. Ideal would be 24/7. Surely it can’t be that expensive, given the value you’ll be able to add to folk?
So I suspect that most British people will NEVER tweet their mobile operator beyond, say, what, midnight… I’m sure there are some statistics that each operator could show in this regard. But come on — folk are generally awake and operational until 10pm. Why not extend service to those hours? You might even have time to do a bit of brand building through some back-and-forth chats with customers. The sort of interaction that’s difficult to do at midday when there are hundreds of enquiries flying in.
And finally… let’s talk days. Monday to Friday doesn’t cut it, folks. Weekends too, please.
Is this too much to ask?