I am going to dispense some advices (my brand of poison, borrowing a phrase from a friend) and try to turn this epic #fail into a potentially valuable teachable moment for Rogers and us all. Feel free to share your thoughts in the moderated comments.
1) Twitter promoted hashtag/bashtag
If the epic #fail #Rogers1Number and #McDStories campaigns have taught us anything, it is that these promoted hashtags can get out of control, can be risky, and can lead to destructive unintended consequences. You know what, the companies promoting the hashtag will also be paying for these bashtags!
Yes, the companies are literally paying to get bad press! The companies are paying to let the world know how dissatisfied their customers, ex-customers, potential customers feel about them.
NOTE 1: Not all hashtags are bad. I think the organically “grow” hashtag from some greatly loved companies can be possibly useful. But even then, company encouraged, sponsored, or paid hashtags can still become lightning rods for unhappy customers or people with complains. So use hashtags with extreme caution like holding a lightning rod in a stormy area.
2) Sample #Rogers1Number tweets:
I’ve spent some time to find some sample tweets and I try to check to ensure the tweets are not from troll accounts newly created just to bash Rogers.
3) Talk about your problems publicly
It looks like most people think Rogers’ customer service culture has to change. And I think Rogers’ customers are sick of waiting Rogers to change.
Here is one suggestion to change it for them. Start writing about your complains publicly. Never write your complains in the tone or words of a mad man/woman. Clearly, politely, firmly and publicly lay out your complains and problems in public blogs, tweets, create videos, post pictures, etc.
You can even post your complains here in the comments if you wish. I will moderate them. So don’t ramble for pages. Don’t use foul language. F-this and F-that never get you far and I will moderate/delete them. Be polite and firm when you lay out your complains. It is up to Rogers to read and handle these publicly left complains if they wish. Rogers may choose to do nothing.
There are two key benefits of leaving your complains publicly.
Firstly, your complains help make other customers and potential customers aware of these problems, they can take their own appropriate actions accordingly. Potential customers do research on the internet these days and if they can’t accept the problems you are having and see these problems unresolved, they can alternate providers. It is also possible that they find these problems don’t concern them (e.g. weak coverage in certain area), then at least they go in bed with Rogers knowing these problems.
Secondly, Rogers seems to react to public and open complains much more promptly and responsively. Problems that take weeks or months of complaining seem to gain high priority attention once they go public. So it looks to me #Rogers1Number can become a tipping point (“the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point“) for change.
4) Teachable moment for Rogers and us all
Looks like @RogersKeith, VP of Social Media at Rogers, and Rogers as a company have heard something as we can see from Keith’s tweets here and here and from his post. Now, have they actually learned anything? That remains to be seen. It is funny and painful for me to read @RogersKeith‘s tweet,
So explain to me why in March 2012 is Rogers still having so much in this mess? If Rogers had really been learning and improving its customer services since 2009, why are Canadians still so unhappy? And why does CBC still gets complains from hundreds and thousands of Canadians about their cellphone bills and awful customer services? Oh, I forgot, cell companies only help when a TV show spotlight their problems! Have a watch of the great 2011 March edition of CBC Marketplace show online, “Canada’s Worst Cellphone Bill” and get ready to be shocked and entertained. Incidentally, I hope Tom and Erica are making the 2012 edition of “Canada’s Worst Cellphone Bill“ already! :)
As someone stated rightfully in one of the above sample tweets,
By the way, I also pondered about this question,
and lead me to ask this,
I am asking a question. In fact the more important question is the general question and not a specific person or instance.
“I think you either really don’t get the message, or you do, but you’re putting on a veneer of callousness to the public. The way you wrote the message is patronizing and pretentious. [...]“
“Kevin – Maybe it’s because it’s a long day and I’m getting punchy [...]“
@RogersKeith‘s frank and less stiffy replies to readers’ comments more readable. Now, I have to mention the last paragraph of the post.
Guess what Keith and his Rogers team come with as the response to this social media perfect storm?
Well, you got it if you guessed a three questions SurveyMonkey survey! (No, I did not make up “SurveyMonkey“!) Click to look of the three questions survey yourself.
1. Are you a Rogers customer? Y/N
2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how satisfied are you with Rogers products’ and services?
3. If you can change one thing about Rogers, what would it be?
Two multiple choice questions and one comment. And the first question is “Are you a Rogers customer?” so there are really one “how satisfied” and a “change one thing” comment. Thats it.
5) Concluding thoughts
We have not idea will this epic #fail #Rogers1Number lead to any permanent or positive changes for Rogers customers in the future. But we can hope. You see, a better Rogers may actually force the whole anti-competitive Canadian wireless industry (Robelus - Rogers, Bell, Telus) to improve which will benefit us all even if we are not a Robelus customer.
Lets end on a positive note. Lets hope and wish this perfect storm and epic #fail will become a teachable moment for Rogers and us all. Only time will tell if I am remotely right or totally wrong or somewhere in between. Please share your thoughts, complains, feedback in the comment section. Thanks.
NOTE 2: Here is a thought experiment and a question: I wonder can your competitors start a hashtag/bashtag campaign for you? My current thinking (subject to change & correction): I think not. I think customers (and reporters) are smart and can smell a rotten fish from a mile away. The thing is any competitors initiated campaigns can backfire on them badly leading to their own #fail bashtag campaign. No fun! So I am theorizing the bashtag epic #fail campaigns have to be self-inflicted to achieve critical and viral momentum. Any thoughts?
Disclosure: I am a freelance business reporter that also freelance for a TV station own by Rogers. The opinions expressed here are my own opinions and do not reflect anyone else or any media outlet that I’ve worked with.