UPDATE: IMImobile clarified that O2 is already seeing more customer interactions via digital channels and has seen a decline in voice calls to customer service – one million fewer per month compared to two years ago. However, it did not reveal how many customers were now using #TweetServe. The company also said that the registration service for Twitter-based support service is so complicated to ensure security of end users.
Earlier: IMImobile continues to expand its services beyond the mobile VAS and has come up with an offering for telecom companies that is more in tune with smartphone era. It has tied-up with UK-based O2 mobile to offer self help service for its subscribers over Twitter. The service, titled #TweetServe that was built in partnership with Telefónica, is automated and a subscriber will need to register before they can use it.
It works like this: if an O2 subscriber wants to use the service, the user will have to follow @O2 on Twitter first and then send a tweet @O2 with #TweetServe. Customers will then be automatically followed back and will receive a Direct Message with instructions to register for the service. They have to then send a text message with the keyword ‘TWEET’ followed by a unique code (provided via the DM) and their Twitter ID to the short code 20555. User will then receive a registration confirmation via text message and Twitter. After this the customer is now ready to use the service by sending hashtag commands.
Once registered, a customer can use the following tags to receive information via Twitter: #charges, #data, #text or #minutes, #android, #windows or #ios (for news from O2 about updates to their operating system), #handsets or #offers, and #stop (to opt out of the service at any point).
Why so complicated?
The best part of Twitter is that it’s so simple — type a sentence and send. Brands need to be on Twitter because they can contact people who are ranting about their services on the social media site and help them out. It’s not clear how many people will pro-actively hunt for a brand and follow such a complicated registration process when the same info can be obtained with a simple Google search. Companies need to change their mindset about social media and approach it in a way that customers will want and in this case the service might be missing the mark.
The service seems to be Twitter version of IVR. What people like about Twitter is the fact that you’re talking to a person who is handling an account and not a bot (though a lot of brands respond like bots most of the time). Also, why and how will people remember all these hashtags that they will use once in a few months? (unless of course O2 has horrible website that does not list any information and people are forced to contact them via Twitter).