If content is king it’s often like mad King George III
Those social media merchants have got a nerve haven’t they? They’re over intrusive, overrated and over the top. Nick Booth doesn’t know what irritates him more – the Netbots, the fake advertising schemes, or the lack of any tax contribution paid to the countries where they make fortunes.
Maybe the real underlying cause of my anger is jealousy. There is an argument to be made that I’m just bitter because I didn’t have the idea first, or the chutzpah to pull it off. I can’t be alone with these mixed feelings of inadequacy, envy and high dudgeon. So it’s worth exploring the process of how one goes about creating some over the top content of our own.
Both Telefónica and Telecom Italia have invested in incubator schemes to encourage more talent to create apps to go over their networks. It would be unfair to review these efforts without meeting the people involved and going into depth about their research and their business plans. However, if I have one criticism, from the first impression of reviewing their stable of contenders, it’s that they aren’t remarkably original.
We, the public, are already over supplied with fashion and shopping comparison web sites. There are so many social media sites out there the NSA doesn’t know what to do with all our personal data. Qudini the one standout start up emerging from the stables of Wayra and Telecom Italia, isn’t actually an over the top content creator anyway. Yes, it’s a cloud based application that runs on your mobile, but it doesn’t offer entertainment or social media or tell the CIA or your local burglars which restaurant you’re going to be eating in. It actually helps you – by helping you beat the queues in your local O2 shop.
That really is revolutionary. A service that actually finds out what is happening to customers and deals with the problem. This flies in the face of all conventional wisdom in the IT and communications industry, where customer service seems to be all about telling people what great service they’re having. My own service provider (Virgin Media) has omnichannels, none of which have the slightest interest in helping me. Not unless I subscribe to an even more expensive service than the one they have already failed to deliver. They’re not great listeners either, these half man-half duplex automatons that make up the average ominous channel.
The negative associations have got so bad that the phrase customer service has taken on a sinister new meaning. I imagine if British gangsters the Krays were back in business now, they’d drop the old protection brand and start calling themselves The Customer Service Gang. My own CSP has now set a firm of debt collectors on me. When I tried to remonstrate with them, the ominous channel boys told me that they’re not governed by Ofcom anyway. This was news to Ofcom.
I’m not alone in being horror of customer service. Chris Menier at Guavus is a kindred spirit. Since he is the vice president of products and strategy for cable and media, he can see exactly how the old fashioned customer service culture is making CSPs lose money.
“Mobile operators have spent too long telling people what they are experiencing, even though the subscriber can see it’s not true,” says Menier. “They tell you that you’ve got a high definition video service, even though your own eyes tell you that it isn’t.”
Not to mention the fact that, having fobbed you off with a bad service, and told you how great it is, they insist on conducting a quick survey which is only going to conclude that they’ve given you world class service – whatever that means. This arrogance is the long term source of revenue loss, he says. However, the CSPs have got no idea how to tackle it, as it’s so complicated, so analytics remain a blind spot to many operators.
Maybe this is an area where they should be incubating start ups. Forget the content is king mantra. Today’s content is so wild and unfocused, if it resembles any monarch, it would have to be mad King George, the man who lost an empire. CSPs need to be less aggressive and give people what they want. Speaking as a consumer, I’m sick of the over the top tackling by CSPs. Maybe they should start playing the ball, not the man.