Digital Divide in Customer Service

digital divide in customer serviceYesterday I had a very bad customer experience with Telecom Italia Mobile, the main telephone service provider of Italy. The detailed story is available here.

GIVE YOUR CUSTOMERS THE IMPORTANCE THEY DESERVE

What got me frustrated the most was their incompetence in doing customer service on Twitter. The TIM operator’s replies to my tweets were always the same, so that at one point I even thought it was an automated profile. It wasn’t, but, still, as a customer, I felt treated like a number that wasn’t making a difference in TIM’s budget. Well, indeed, that is true, but today every smart entrepreneur knows that customers engagement and loyalty is crucial to any company. Also, I would say, it is important in particular for telephone service providers, because as soon as customers are unhappy they move towards another telephone company, don’t they?

That’s why, just to stay on topic, my UK telephone company, O2, rewards loyal customers with prices and discounts. Their online presence is absolutely awesome, and their efficiency and creativity on Twitter is exemplar. For instance, here’s the promo video of their #TweetServe campaign, just to give you an idea of how they constantly innovate their customer service.

OPERATORS SHOULD ACT AS PEOPLE

Speaking more generally, other examples of efficient and customer-centred replies of customer service operators on Twitter can be found on a post of The Drum, dated 2012 — we are in 2015, and TIM still doesn’t get it. The article shows how O2, Sainsbury’s, East Coast Trains and Smart Car personalise their tweets in relation to the style of the customer, they make clever use of slang, write hilarious comments and just reply as they were real people — which, ops! They actually are! Operators aren’t machines, are them?

USE EMPATHY AND PERSONALITY

This is actually my point: doing customer service on Twitter — well, on any platform, but on social media even more — means first of all listening to each customer’s problem (listening= reading carefully and especiallyempathically), then trying to solve it or at least providing them with the moreinformation available. Finally it means giving real answers, not pro forma, and adding a little bit of personality.

…AND SAY SORRY.

Be patient and have a nice day, the TIM operator’s reply to my tweets (the same for 3 times, by the way) was cold, impersonal and, frankly, it just made me feel like an idiot. As I wrote in my previous post, not a sorry, not an apology for the inconvenience. @telecomitalia tweets were even worst: they asked me what was the problem, and once I told them they just replied we know that a TIM operator was already in contact with you, ask him for info.

This post was previously published on Medium, here.

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How TIM welcomes new customers (or at least how it welcomed me)

One week ago I came back to my hometown, Brescia, in Italy, for the Summer. I wanted to change my telephone company, and after a long surf on the web I decided to move towards TIM, as it had a very good offer for traffic data, which is what I use my iPhone more for.

I filled the form online, and then I received a message telling me that a courier would have arrived in 7 working days to deliver my new SIM card.

Then I received a call from TIM, telling me that the courier would have come on Wednesday (today), and asking me my preferred time for receiving my SIM card. I said in the morning, because I couldn’t stay at home in the afternoon. The call center operator told me that the courier would have come in the morning before 1PM. I told her that I had an iPhone5, and therefore I needed a NANOSIM.

Today I waited for hours, and then, at 12PM, I started to be a bit worried. Therefore I contacted the call center with my phone (not yet on TIM, so I payed for the call) but there were no option for new costumers or to know where my courier was. Hence I contacted the customer service via Twitter. The operator didn’t know anything about my case and kept repeating that I should have been patient, without giving me any information about my SIM card or my courier.

Then I decided to directly mention @telecomitalia, hoping in some more information. They replied after a hour. In the meanwhile was already 2PM and the courier has arrived. The courier was actually a kind man that told me that nobody told him to come before 1PM.

Anyway, apparently everything was sorted out, but…no, actually, it wasn’t. I opened my pack and I found a MICROSIM inside, whilst I specifically asked for a NANOSIM.

I read @telecomitalia’s reply and I replied, too, telling them about the delay and the wrong SIM. They replied to me telling me that they noticed I was already in contact with an operator via Twitter, and telling me to have a nice day.

Now it’s 4PM. The operator told me to change the SIM in a TIM center. Not a “sorry”, not a single apology.

I strongly doubt I will change the SIM. I will just change telephone company. If I was in the UK I would ask for a refund, or for a discount at least, but unfortunately I know that in Italy that’s just a lost cause.

Here are the screenshots (in Italian). The whole situation is just unbelievable to me.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 15.11.07 Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 15.11.30 Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 15.12.08  Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 15.14.19 Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 15.14.27 Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 15.40.09Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 15.08.35