The Economic Times - - Saturday Feature -

Twit­ter and Face­book have be­come cru­cial tools for tel­cos to ad­dress cus­tomer is­sues as well as mount at­tacks on ri­vals, and the com­pa­nies are ready to pay big money to hire the right peo­ple to do the job, writes

Atweet­fromAmitab­hBachchan­this Jan­uary ad­dress­ing his tele­com ser­vice provider for help had a ri­val chim­ing in of­fer­ing its ser­vices. When Vi­jay Shekhar Sharma, the poster boy of the cash­less econ­omy, men­tioned the ad­di­tional data he got from his op­er­a­tor, a com­peti­tor jumped in with a bet­ter of­fer.

So­cial me­dia plat­forms like Twit­ter and Face­book are in­creas­ingly be­ing used by com­pa­nies across in­dus­tries to in­ter­act real-time with their cus­tomers. In the tele­com in­dus­try, where com­pa­nies are fight­ing an in­tense war for mar­ket share, th­ese plat­forms have be­come a tool to sell p r o duc t s , e n g a g e con­tin­u­ously with cus­tomers and pro­vide quick re­sponse to com­plaints and de­mands.

At tele­com com­pa­nies, so­cial me­dia teams keep an eye on ev­ery feed across medi­ums for any move by ri­vals as well as watch for dis­grun­tled sub­scriber, be it their own or of a com­peti­tor. The teams are ex­pected to re­solve the is­sues quickly and the com­pa­nies are ready to pay big money for so­cial me­dia an­a­lysts.

“Tel­cos have for­ever been deal­ing with high churn rates and the work of sup­port cen­tres has now been taken over by so­cial me­dia teams,” said An­shul Gupta, the re­search di­rec­tor at tech­nol­ogy re­search firm Gart­ner in In­dia. “The power to link busi­ness to con­sumers in sec­tors like tele­com, banks and con­sumer ap­pli­ances now lies with th­ese teams who are trained to make sure no er­ror is re­peated and tweak the re­sponse within the turn­around time.” Bharti Air­tel, In­dia’s largest tele­com op­er­a­tor, said so­cial me­dia is a pri­or­ity chan­nel for the com­pany which has tran­si­tioned from be­ing a mar­ket­ing chan­nel to a con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence chan­nel. Its so­cial com­mand cen­tre, head­quar­tered in Gur­gaon, is named CLTR A and is made up of three key units — Cre­ative, An­a­lyt­ics and Re­sponse — with a sub­ject mat­ter ex­pert manag­ing each ver­ti­cal. “Right from ba­sic query re­sponse to is­sue res­o­lu­tion to ser­vice visit align­ment — this team is em­pow­ered to com­plete the full process. The ad­vis­ers go be­yond text and tweets,” said Air­tel. For its just launched Air­tel In­ter­net TV, the team has self-help videos which are served real time to en­sure that the is­sue res­o­lu­tion hap­pens in the most seam­less way pos­si­ble. Voda­fone’s Sid­dharth Baner­jee, the ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for mar­ket­ing, said his com­pany’s so­cial me­dia team en­sures that all con­sumer queries are tagged and re­sponded in 15-20 min­utes. “All rel­e­vant con­ver­sa­tion or buzz about any­thing in the cat­e­gory gets picked up by the com­mand cen­tre and then the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers, within the com­pany, are sen­si­tized,” said Baner­jee. In­dia’s No 2 tele­com com­pany has ded­i­cated so­cial me­dia re­sources from the Voda­fone Brand Team and its part­ner agen­cies, who work closely with busi­ness

teams, cre­ative and me­dia agency, pub­lic re­la­tions and re­sponse man­age­ment teams, he said. Th­ese me­dia teams mine data and cus­tomer in­sights. Air­tel said in its on­go­ing ‘Air­tel Post­paid Prom­ise’ cam­paign, the com­pany used con­ver­sa­tions with cus­tomers to un­der­stand the post-paid user’s frus­tra­tion ar­eas. “Th­ese helped us launch prod­ucts like Data Roll Over in the mar­ket,” said the firm. The lat­est en­trant into the mar­ket, Re­liance Jio In­fo­comm, has a so­cial me­dia team that is aligned to busi­nesses for quicker re­sponse to any is­sues es­ca­lated to them. Jio’s apps like Jio Mu­sic also have their ded­i­cated so­cial me­dia team. The com­pany did not re­spond to ET’s queries. Tel­cos are ready to pay big bucks to so­cial me­dia a na­lyst s. Ex­ec­u­tive se a rch firm Ema

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