Recently, AT & T created this YouTube video to address increasing customer dissatisfaction with connectivity and internet connection speeds on iPhones. Customers all over the blogosphere, Twittersphere and Facebook have been complaining vociferously about the shoddy service from the iPhone's exclusive carrier.
It was a great idea to make a video to address the concerns. It was a great idea to post the video on YouTube.
However, the attempt falls flat in its execution, reading more like a boring defense of corporate sluggishness than a genuine attempt to connect with users on a human and personal level. A few suggestions for AT &T:
- If you're going to try to be hip, don't read a script on the video. Make it more conversational. Think the Mac guy.
- Have a sense of humor about the issue; it will encourage your users to have one, too.
- Explanations are nice, but apologies are better.
- Charts and graphics are nice, but humility is better.
- Try starting a conversation: ask users what they would like to see. Remember the users?
- Instead of considering the video an animated press release, consider it the beginning of a cooperative process. Why not use the video to send users to a forum where they can track current progress, make suggestions on innovations and meet both you and other users?
- Save the mind-numbing details of network structure for those who care about it. Remember, David Meerman Scott's mantra: no one cares about your product but you. What users care about is what they do with the product--calling grandma, checking flight status, posting a picture of the kids to Twitter, looking up "creosote" on Wikipedia because it came up in conversation.
The video was a missed opportunity to connect with unhappy customers as real human beings. Instead of providing a corporate explanation with graphics and a carefully-worded press release sent top-down from headquarters, AT&T would do well to have openly apologized and engaged its users in a conversation about their service.
I'm reminded of the very best corporate apology I've ever received: when LibSyn was going through its growing pains, I had some issues with my account. They were small but annoying, as customer service issues usually are. LibSyn fixed them, and Rob emailed me once the corrections were made, saying simply, "Sorry for sucking." The vernacular apology reminded me I was working with a human being who was working hard to get my account back up. To this day, I've never switched off LibSyn's service because of that bit of humanity.