When social media works

Kudos to the @Optus social media team for utilising social media channels effectively to help their customers. I’ve had this ongoing saga for a few years where my internet drops out when the weather is extremely hot (around 35+ degrees Celsius). And with this many horrible experiences of Optus customer support – being on hold for 1+ hour then dropped out of the phone queue, passed between many departments, technicians not turning up because tech support decided there wasn’t an issue and cancelling the booking yet the next support person could clearly see the issue was still there based on the modem logs. After 3 or so call outs a new modem was provided about a year ago but since then there hasn’t really been a bunch of extremely hot days in a row.

Until yesterday… and woah behold when I came home in the evening no internet. Just the same flashing light sequence I’m more than familiar with. Usual tricks didn’t work and I was dreading having to call Optus tech support… Have you even been asked if you’ve power cycled you’re modem 3 times after you’ve already said yes twice? Not to mention the stuff arounds last time as mentioned above. So when it still didn’t work this morning, it was time to take to Twitter as I knew Optus have an account they they respond to.

Posted on the way to work, and got a reply within a few hours, and after providing a bit more info a guy from the social media team rang me – yes a real person! Turns out there were some issues which they knew about but with no ETA (odd that there network status page didn’t say anything). Anyways he said he’d try to keep my in the loop either via Twitter or ring me, and I got a phone call with an update in the afternoon that the issue had been fixed but there was someone else on my street experiencing the same issue so if it wasn’t fixed when I got home to get in touch. As I don’t get home till after the social media team finish for the day the guy updated the account notes with details in case I had to ring tech support for further help (tech support is offshore). Got home and lucky for me the internet was working again. Was it heat related? Don’t know the real answer but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. The cables running from the house have to tap to the main line, so extreme heat could cause connector issues with expansion and all of joins.

That all aside, I was very happy with the customer service and give a +1 to Optus for embracing social media. The internet has reinvented the way people work, communicate and share. Businesses need to recognise and embrace these changes/technologies as they’re not going to go away. Operating models change over time and Optus is proving that they can address customer service in ways different from traditional means. Will customer service/support by social media become mainstream? Probably not, but it’s a market they have to catch as increasingly more people turn to the web for their needs (e.g. the whole online shopping debacle).

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