O2’s service outage this time last week – which led to almost 8 million customers experiencing a 24-hour blackout across the UK and Ireland – may have damaged its reputation as a reliable provider, but its social media team gave us all a lesson in how to handle an avalanche of Twitter abuse.
They were receiving “customer feedback” at a rate of one tweet every six seconds and there was an almost 5000% uplift in mentions of O2 on Twitter. Huge numbers, especially given many customers would have frustratingly been unable to tweet as their phone was not working! Rather than following the traditional corporate crisis rulebook, O2’s social media team responded to its customers (many of whom had hurled expletive-filled abuse at them) in the way you would a good friend that you had let down. They used the right tone of voice, an element of humour (as well as humility) and a personal touch. See this article in the New Statesman for some interesting examples. O2 have provided a great case study on how an organisation can turn a customer-relations and PR nightmare into a positive customer story.