Now What, O2?
According to O2, all 2G and 3G services are now back up and running, having been restored after an outage that lasted about 20 hours for some customers. The response from many users, especially on Twitter, was sarcastic, hinting at a mixture of annoyance and bemusement. See some examples of those responses in this message board post and in this one.
Now that the network issue is resolved -- all signs point to a home location register (HLR) crash -- O2 faces a bigger test: placating its customers, especially those that have missed out on work opportunities because they were cut off from the communications network.
The company has been apologizing online and on Twitter: CEO Ronan Dunne tweeted, "To all our affected customers - I'm very sorry. The network is back. My focus now is restoring your confidence and trust in O2." At least the company is using effective means to get to a large part of its customer base. (See Socializing CRM.)
But that's just step one. Now it needs to be proactive.
A similar outage was experienced by Orange France customers less than a week ago. Customers there received a text with an apology and were directed to the company's website, where details of the compensation package, including a day's free service and a free ticket to the cinema (I notice that 'premium 3D movies' are excluded...).
But is that enough? Perhaps not. Even after one week and the offer of compensation, Orange France customers are still seething. "It was very annoying -- all Friday evening I had no access whatsoever," says Light Reading correspondent Anne Morris, who lives in Nice, France.
Morris details her frustrations in this message board post. More feedback from Orange would have been good, she notes.
So what will O2 do? Let's see what happens in the next 48 hours. The U.K. is a very competitive market -- O2 will have Vodafone UK , EE , Three UK and Virgin Mobile all looking to grab its customers -- and the service provider will have to react quickly and noisily if it is to avoid a lot of costly pain.
Orange France believes its compensation will cost it tens of millions of euros, but that's better (and cheaper in the long term) than losing customers and gaining a reputation for bad customer service.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading