o2 have faced a 24 hour blackout to what would seem to be the majority of their 23 million customers. Following the Natwest blackout last week, o2 have reportedly faced similar IT problems due to a faulty upgrade for the Olympics (The Guardian).
Now Crisis Communications is a bit of a discussion point in the industry, especially when it comes to Crisis Communications on Social Media. Many choose to go silent and ignore it all, many simply direct to website holding page/news article, many will direct you to their customer service team via email or telephone and the ones that embrace Social Media may well respond openly and publicly with apologies and promises to make up for whatever it was that went wrong. There have been some excellent case studies for organisations doing this well and some not doing it quite so well - check out my slideshow from earlier this year.
I think the slideshow will now need thoroughly updating. This is by far my favourite case study I may have ever seen, let alone for Crisis Communications.
So what did o2 do to cope with the situation that I love so much? Humour. Actual laugh-out-loud, crying laughter.
o2's main Twitter feed, @O2, is run by the social media team and as far as I'm concerned they have made history today in Crisis Communications and Social Media. Rather than ignoring the ignorant customers who turn to Twitter to express their foul-mouthed frustration, the team replied to their comments with sarcasm and humour. Just a few of my favourites are below.
o2's target market are reportedly 18 - 24 year olds which let's face it, are more than likely on at least one Social Media platform. I fall into that age category and I spend far too much time on Social Media. Obviously I can only speak for myself but hypothetically if I were an o2 customer and fed up through lack of phone, I would turn to Facebook and Twitter to keep in contact with my friends and a bit of humour would go a long way in that situation. Having been a loyal Orange customer for eight years, I will definitely be looking into them purely on the fact they are inline with their target audience.... and hilarious.