Title of Post: 5 Ways @TELUS is Winning #SocialMedia
Organisation: TELUS Communications Company
Name of CEO: Darren Entwistle
Web References: About CEO; Customer Satisfaction; J.D. Power & Associates; TELUS Survey; Twitter; TELUS Branding; Facebook; Bell Facebook; Rogers Facebook; Rogers Helps Twitter; Telecom Dividends Comparison; Quebec Language Act; TELUS Forums; soundcloud; TELUS Blog; Matthew Latkiewicz; Engagement Style; Youtube Channel
Customer Engagement Through Social Media:
In 2010, which isn’t that long ago in real time, but seems like forever ago according to social media relevance, TELUS was busy examining their customer satisfaction. In 2011, the Canadian arm of J.D. Power & Associates conducted a national survey of customer satisfaction for telecommunications companies. TELUS was shocked to learn they were the bottom of the heap! Over 15,000 Canadians were surveyed. TELUS needed a significant overhaul in the customer services department to win folks back. While the TELUS’ mantra “Customers First,” was formalized in 2010; the true work of thoughtfully engaging customers had yet to start.
Since 2011, TELUS has successfully mastered social media for improved customer service. You’re probably wondering what I mean by “mastered?” Its simple, TELUS has received many accolades, kudos, and props from customers and industry insiders alike suggesting their customer engagement is on point. In plain language, they get s@*t done! The proof is in the Twitter pudding.
— Cristina Leonardelli (@CristinaLeo12) September 30, 2015
Or how about example #2 with more colourful language:
I just got off the phone with @TELUSsupport, and even though it’s been a clusterfuck so far, this is getting sorted out. THANK YOU!!!
— Jim Squires (@jimmycanuck) September 28, 2015
You’ll note those tweets were directed to two different accounts. In fact, TELUS has three separate Twitter accounts. The first is @TELUS which functions as the official English voice of the company. The second is @TELUSfr which is the official French voice and the third is @TELUSSupport. Now let’s compare each of these accounts and the associated stats:
@TELUS | Joined June 2007 | 28.9K Tweets | 66.2K Following | 77.1K Followers
@TELUSfr | Joined Jan. 2010 | 4,794 Tweets | 2,909 Following | 5,072 Followers
@TELUSSupport | Joined Feb. 2010 | 238K Tweets | 35.6K Following | 39.7K Followers
Now, what can be gleaned from these numbers? Either TELUS needs to engage more French speaking customers and outreach into the French speaking parts of Canada or the constant political worry about French language laws and French identity is legitimate. Perhaps, we need to reexamine our French language instruction in the rest of Canada. But I digress, that is for a different blog!
@TELUSSupport is the most heavily used of the three twitter accounts. The # of tweets swallows up both of the other accounts. This is because @TELUSSupport is directly engaging with customers whereas the other two accounts are for spreading TELUS news and strengthening the TELUS brand through fun contests and sharing values. Interesting to note is that @TELUS tweets out regionally relevant things so that all of Canada can get engaged. To help you understand:
— TELUS (@TELUS) October 13, 2015
Or here is another great example:
— TELUS (@TELUS) October 7, 2015
What makes these examples so great is that TELUS is using their brand to build a connection with their audience. In both instances, the animal images within the tweets are distinctly on brand. TELUS has been using the brightly coloured animals and plant-life for branding since the late 1990’s. Their image is consistent throughout various social media platforms.
TELUS is successfully managing three accounts with high traffic and meeting the needs of its customer base. Each account is staying true to the brand’s playful voice and is demonstrating transparency; authentic connection; and genuineness. Not to mention they have been doing this since 2010. In addition to Twitter and Facebook, TELUS created an online platform for customers to share thoughts, ask questions, and get answers all in one place. This platform is called the Neighbourhood. The Twitter account @TELUSSupport is not monitored 24/7 so the Neighbourhood functions as another meeting place to receive customer service and tech support. One of the other telecom companies lists itself as being available 24/7 through Twitter; however a quick look through the feed and it becomes clear that customers are not happy with the response time. It is no wonder TELUS is receiving awards for their customers satisfaction.
I know a lot of the focus has been on TELUS’ use of Twitter. However, TELUS also plays with customers on Facebook. With over 800,000 likes, TELUS wins the popularity vote and blows the other major telecommunications companies out of the water. Here is one competitor’s page and the other’s page. There is a significant difference in the number of likes. Now if the likes translate into money for TELUS, this is amazing use of social media for business performance. From this article you can solidly extrapolate (or at least I have extrapolated) that the likes are translating into money. Ranked as the third largest telecommunications company in Canada, TELUS seems to be outperforming the other larger competitors in terms of dividend growth. I think it is a safe assumption that while the other two companies might be larger in terms of scope, TELUS is snagging customers and retaining them for longer. This is probably in large part to the stellar customer service!
While shareholders are different from customers, let’s examine for a minute TELUS’ ability to connect with diverse stakeholders using social media. Out of the three top telecommunications companies, TELUS was the only one with a current soundcloud. In 2012, Darren Entwistle urged shareholders to vote for the shared plan, here is the clip. Having a soundcloud and an audio clip from the CEO speaks volumes to stakeholders. A greater sense of trust is created between stakeholder and company when you can hear the voice of the CEO. Many companies go down the path of letters signed and posted to the company website or mailed out; however a soundcloud provides greater usability. Listeners can tweet or Facebook the message which can then be retweeted or further liked. This demonstrates a keen interest on the part of TELUS to actually get the information out to everyone! Perhaps also to engage new potential stakeholders. In any case pdf’s and attachments are so passé (oh look, I’ve used some French).
In digging through the TELUS digital footprint, I can safely say that I’m impressed! I don’t currently use TELUS. *Cough* Umm (clears throat)…I am with one of the competitors and I think I should switch for the customer service alone!
Lessons for Others:
Through the maintenance of a consistent brand and the creation of a social media voice, TELUS has managed to climb up from the bottom of the heap and is leading the way for others in the realm of customer engagement. The level of transparency being demonstrated through various platforms signals to the customer that TELUS is a trustworthy company. Not only does TELUS provide stellar customer service, they are seeking input from customers as well. Their purpose built platform The Neighbourhood demonstrates their commitment to growth, innovation, and customer feedback. Matthew Latkiewicz, Creative Director at Zendesk and freelance writer, wrote in 2010 that there are five different social media engagement styles for companies. When taking a close look at the styles, it is easy to see that TELUS has cobbled together a super-style that combines elements from each one:
- The Game Show Host: through the @TELUS account there are giveaways and contests
- Your Friendly Neighbourhood Service Rep = @TELUSSupport
- The Beehive = TELUS employees responding within the @TELUSSupport twitter feed
- The Community Builder = The Neighbourhood platform
- The Friend = the tone used throughout all of TELUS’ digital footprint
It is as though back in 2010 when TELUS was trying to sort out its game, everyone sat down together and said “we can use every engagement style.” And they did! Also, surrounding all of TELUS’ digital footprint is the value of fun. TELUS is a company that is willing to poke fun at itself and to learn from its mistakes. To conclude, I leave you with the following.
Submitted by: Saara Siddiqi, University of Waterloo
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