Teachable Moment in #Rogers1Number bashtag epic #fail – Tipping point? Will @RogersKeith and Rogers actually change or just listen and ignore?

TorStar, Globe and Mail, and Techvibes have all reported on the #Rogers1Number (live search) epic #fail promoted hashtag turned bashtag (a term coined in the #McDStories campaign).

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.

- “The saddest part of the #Rogers1Number backlash is nothing will change, #Rogers will learn nothing and customer will still get poor service.” (via Twitter)

- “I’m really loving reading all the nasty backlash at#Rogers it’s making my night, keep it up guys they’re paying per tweet! #rogers1number” (via Twitter)

- “When I call Rogers to resolve an issue two more magically appear #rogers1number They can’t get one thing right” (via Twitter)

- “#Rogers1Number “We’re in social media to listen”. Right. Not to change. Just to listen. Hear this: Shitty PR stunts can kill a company fast” (via Twitter)

- “.@RogersKeith Rogers deems data so valuable u charge $2/GB when I go OVER. Why not get credit when I stay UNDER monthly max? #Rogers1Number” (via Twitter)

- “The #Rogers1Number fiasco. Let’s see if this even change something.” (via Twitter)

- “@kellie_mariee TRUST ME! Walk away from anything that has to do with Rogers #Rogers1Number” (via Twitter)

- “#rogers1number, yeah Rogers is not a friendly cell phone company.#expensive.” (via Twitter)

- “So internet went up $2 this month, and I got an extra 20gb. But I was charged $2 per gb last month in overage! #wft #rogers1number” (via Twitter)

- “Hopefully #Rogers1Number will learn that real customer service comes from face to face help in their stores and better phone coverage!” (via Twitter)

- “#Rogers1Number took 10 calls and 3 visits to get a contract worked out. Stressed thinkin bout next contract re-negotiation already #ripoff” (via Twitter)

- “#Rogers1number LOL totally backfired on them maybe #Fido should start a TT so they can see how bad their customr service is. I should switch” (via Twitter)

- “you cant promote a #hashtag #Rogers1Number, if you want a hashtag to work its got 2 b done organically; because people want to talk about it” (via Twitter) [Kempton: Worth more thinking about]

- “#Rogers1Number problems with service after new contract. Rogers says coverage will be better in 2014. #seriously. Grt service #not” (via Twitter)

- “Why can Rogers connect me in less than a day but it takes a month to disconnect? #Rogers1Number” (via Twitter)

- “#rogers1number cable: cancelled. Internet: cancelled. Just can’t wait to cancel my cell phone plan. I’ve got nothing to do w/ u.” (via Twitter)

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,

“Learning from our customers is an absolute priority in social,@emilyheuts We launched @RogersHelps back in 2009. #Rogers1Number” (via Twitter)

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,

“We’re in social media to listen”. Right. Not to change. Just to listen.

By the way, I also pondered about this question,

#Rogers1Number Should people/company on #Rogers payroll post +ve tweets without disclosing conflicts? @RogersKeith What is#ethical#fail” (via Kempton’s tweet)

and lead me to ask this,

“.@randymatheson Is #Rogers your company’s client? If so, should you have disclosed you are supporting a client? @RogersKeith#Rogers1Number” (via Tweeter)

I am asking a question. In fact the more important question is the general question and not a specific person or instance.

update: Received this clarification from Randy and here is a reply from me.

update 2: Some additional comments about @RogersKeith‘s post “Our take on today’s Twitter trend

It is worth reading commenter Kevin’s observation about the post,

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. [...]

which @RogersKeith wrote an honest reply saying,

Kevin – Maybe it’s because it’s a long day and I’m getting punchy [...]

I find @RogersKeith‘s frank and less stiffy replies to readers’ comments more readable. Now, I have to mention the last paragraph of the post.

photo

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.

#Rogers1Number - Feedback Three Questions

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.

2 Responses to Teachable Moment in #Rogers1Number bashtag epic #fail – Tipping point? Will @RogersKeith and Rogers actually change or just listen and ignore?

  1. Hi Kempton. I certainly agree that we have a lot to learn from our customers. Not only do we listen, but we do make changes based on their feedback as you read in Keith’s post here: http://roge.rs/FOFiYc

    We’ve been in the Social Media space since 2009 and have recently rolled our Customer Service via @RogersHelps. So far, feedback has been predominantly positive and we look forward to continuing to grow in this space. You can read more about our social support here: http://bit.ly/yHri8U We have a lot to offer included peer-to-peer technical forums.

    You can reach me @RogersMary. I look forward to reading your thoughts on how we’re doing!

    Take care,
    Mary

  2. kempton says:

    Hi Mary,

    Please don’t this personally but thanks for NOT reading my post at all or carefully.

    1) First of all, I did read Keith’s post and actually linked to it in my post already.

    “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.”

    2) Secondly, thanks for pointing out Rogers has been “in the Social Media space since 2009″. To help you read better, I quote what I wrote in the post already,

    “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!”

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