Miruna Codeanu

Don’t on social media, case study: Orange Romania

In espresso on November 29, 2013 at 7:24 am

I kept writing about the use of social media in marketing, how great it can be if you use it wisely, how social media will be the next mass media, the future of social media and some other social media issues. While I was writing them it seemed like I’m mostly explaining common sense, I’ve been using, studying and marketing on social media since 2008. After some time it seems common sense that a business should have a social presence and it should engage its consumers in a conversation, different from old marketing in accordance to the company’s image. There are some case studies in which social media can become customer care, more efficient than the old fashioned call center. However, sometimes, something happens and I realize, no, it is not common sense, and even big companies need to be reminded what social media is all about. So, I’ll tell you a story about my experience as a customer and consumer of a brand with a marketing background. I usually don’t like to give names but I’ll use this post as a complaint letter and some free advice to the company as well.

My never ending story with Orange Romania Last week I decided I needed a new phone. I’ve been an Orange Romania customer since I first got a phone, which is probably for the last 12 years. It should traceable, and I’m pretty sure Orange Romania can check the birth date of my phone number, although there was no Orange Romania back then, it was called Dialog . I might be what they call a loyal customer.  Their online store has been hosting a “Black Friday” campaign throughout the whole week. I had previously decided for a Note 3. Sure the phone was constantly out of stock, I set an alert to announce me when it’s back in stock. I get my notification, I click on it, I place my order. Due to my buyer enthusiasm I placed an order for a new phone number instead of continuing my subscription on my existent phone number.  I realized that after I had already made the payment. But I see a “cancel” button and I click it and it appears as cancelled, I think, that was before someone approved it. Then, I place another order, continuing my subscription on my existent phone number, using my “Orange Thank You” points as they were again available, having cancelled the previous order. Yesterday, checking the status of my order, I see that both orders are approved. I’ve been building online stores, it’s impossible that they don’t have a tracking management system and can’t cancel my order. It must be simple, track my order, push a button that changes the status for my order. But no, it is not simple. It is time consuming and annoying, like dealing with an extremely bureaucratic state institution. Phoning the customer support for the web store would be the easiest, I naively said to myself. Wrong again. After dialing 202, there was an answering machine. Yes, we know cutting costs, offering better prices. However, after the “press 1 for, press 2 for… ” there is usually a press “whatever” to be transferred to one of our team members. No, you have to somehow, match a certain combination of numbers in order to be transferred. I finally do that and I finally get to speak to a human voice.

Orange Customer Care: Yay, human voice. I explain my issue, that I would like one of my orders to be cancelled and it would be easier if they would that from the very beginning, so that I don’t receive two orders and I have to return one and then deal with my bank for cancelling one order and the payment already made. No, she cannot cancel my order. She will send a notification to her colleagues. But I thought I called customer care from the web store as there is a special number for that. “That’s the procedure”. Ok, how long does it take? 2h for her colleagues to get the notification. “I beg your pardon?”. Are you sending a travelling pigeon with it? I though Orange is an international corporation whose staff has internet access. “Those are the procedures.” She can’t tell me if my order has been delivered or not, she does not if my order is still with them or on the way. I’m sorry again, are you serious? Again, I know how a web store works, you should be able to tell me where my order is. I wonder if she can tell me if my money have been transferred to their account. They are usually blocked by the bank until my order is accepted and then withdrew. She says my money have been transferred. Yes, but I tried to cancel my order, and it appeared as canceled. As also, I was able to use my “Orange Thank You” points to place another order. Also, it usually takes 5 days for Orange Romania to cash my money when I make an online payment for my monthly invoice and confirm my payment.  Fine, I end my call with the call center person, I know how companies work she will probably get a cut off her salary if she does something that’s not in the procedures, although usually, thinks there are some exceptions to the procedure. Secondly it would be more cost effective for Orange Romania to know where my order is and if, still with them, not send it anymore, right? There are just too many flaws to discuss with someone who knows just procedures.  However, this was the moment I became a somewhat angry customer. I’ve been an Orange customer for the last 12 years, I was placing an online order, I previously had to look into some matter with a Roaming service and now this? Also, I know how I always trained my sales and customer care to nurture clients. I remember I live in the social media age and most of all, I am a social media user, sometimes pretty engaging one.

Orange Social Media: I sent a Facebook message to Orange Romania, explaining what happened, my order numbers and which of them I want canceled and which I want to receive. The answer I receive: “buna, Suna te rog la 202 unde colegii mei iti vor oferi tot suportul. X din echipa  Orange Facebook Team” , translation: “hello, Please call 202 where my colleagues will help you. X from Orange Facebook Team.” Oh, no. Oh, so you are stepping on my toes. Really, you have a social media team and all you can do is send me back to a call center? This is a typically case study for “DON’T” on social media. I’ve been always telling my clients, my team, my colleagues, social media is for interacting with clients. You are a social media marketer? Forget old marketing. If you ever considered placing your bin under your carpet, don’t do in offline marketing, but definitely don’t in social media marketing. Don’t ditch the customers that are coming to you looking for help. Social media is precisely that: something that made communication easier with the customer. The thing that social media changed? It created a dialog. It takes two to tango, it also takes at least two for a dialog. Internet is growing. Internet is also growing more than Tv, so you can realize its importance. If I’m a customer and I’m almost angry, you don’t send me back to you customer support without showing me you are even trying to look into the matter.  Yes, your call center probably has strict procedure, being outsourced, but your Facebook team should at least try. True, not everybody on social media may also have a Twitter account and a blog and some reach, but some of them might be doing what I’m doing right now, and it might cost you more in terms of image costs than having a proper social media team. After receiving this answer I also took a look at their Facebook page. It looks like this:orange romania

It is mostly offers and one-to-many communication. True, it has 600.000 fans, not sure very engaged though. I take a look at their latest posts, negative comments, no replies. Sure, I don’t allow accusations with no motivation on my pages, but when accusations are made one gets an explanation, and if rude, he is notified his post will be deleted unless we can have a civilized dialogue. It might be their Facebook account is in the wrong hands. They might have made an offline marketer deal with online marketing. There’s no story, there’s no magic, there’s no dialogue in this Facebook account. There’s no social media in this Facebook account. There is a post with an album entitled “Events & Sponsorship.”. Oh, dear Orange Facebook Team, make a story about how and when and where. This is not a section on your corporate website. This is social media. Orange’s homepage from their website says: “Good morning, how can we help you?”. Oh, nice. Only that it is not coherent. You could definitely help me when I’m trying to reach you when a have a problem, and it might be that solving my problem would be beneficial: it could spare you the courier money for an order. So, Facebook, it fails.

Moving on. Twitter. I make the announcement on my Twitter account cc-ing Orange Help, already angry with all the “customer care” I got. Their twitter account Orange Help is however, more responsive. However, not very aware on how social media works. I private message them with the details. However, all their answers are public. They are either unaware of how social media works and that you can private message people on Twitter, either trying to show our mutual followers they are dealing with my problem. Did they seriously ever consider I will offer my phone number in a post that is visible to everybody? Not sure, our mutual followers are interesting in my problem with their customer care. Not sure, this was their primary matter. After some  tweets I’m announced it will take up to 24 hours to cancel my order, and if by some chance, a courier contacts me to deliver my order, I shouldn’t receive. Oh dear lord, again. Really, Orange Romania, your online store doesn’t have more levels for the confirmation of an order, you don’t know whether it was delivered or not? However, I appreciate more the Twitter team, for at least delivering a social media appropriate answer. My order was cancelled last night, and I’m waiting for the other order I kept, hoping they kept that order as it was, as it seems, with all the procedure, all is very unpredictable at Orange Romania, may I remind you I had previously tried to cancel my order and it appeared as cancelled. So, I spent 5 ours trying to cancel an online order, as it could easily be done with some appropriate  online store management or just a button in my user account to be able to cancel my order, and with a tracking system for online orders. So, I’m spending another hour writing this, as a complaint letter to Orange Romania and also as a case study to learn from.

Lesson: have a coherent brand. If you claim something, make sure you will be able to deliver. If your website asks me: “How can I help you?” I expect a user friendly brand and great customer care. If you don’t have those and you are trying to cut costs and offer best prices, then don’t claim it, but you will be publicly shamed for being unable to deliver. If your company has a social media presence, act accordingly. Remember social media is not old media. Remember you are sending a commercial to a magazine where customers are unable to answer. Remember social media is about engagement and stories, not just sales. Remember social media contests aren’t those building your social media presence. There was a time social media marketers were experiment with contests, however, it has ended. Remember, customer care is essential and it can spare some headaches. Remember, customer care is also what keeps a brand alive. Dear Orange Romania, take this lesson for free from a customer that happens to be a marketer and who has been with you since you didn’t even exist: social media is not offline marketing. It can work magic if you add some magic to it.

Later edit: as social media is also for connecting and sharing, I shared my post with one of the Marketing Managers at Orange Romania on Linkedin and I was glad to see some responsiveness in this matter. All in all, I hope my negative experience will be someone’s great experience in the future.

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  1. […] as Orange Romania, eMag uses social media marketing. They have a Facebook fanpage and a Twitter account. I’ve […]

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