Customer Disappointment To Customer Delight – Lessons From O2


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After a bad customer experience, how you deal with disappointed customers says a lot about your business.I highlighted recently that RBS NatWest seemed to be struggling to do this appropriately after their ‘technical problems’ a couple of weeks ago. A key issue being the way they communicated with their customers and not utilising the medium that many of their customers were using – namely Twitter!

Well, O2 had a huge ‘technical problem’ last week when coverage was lost for millions, but they appeared to ‘Deal with customer disappointment’ in a much more genuine and ‘human’ way!

As well as acknowledging the problem and ‘officially’ apologising, they proactively kept customers informed of what was happening via Twitter.

They also responded to individual angry customers who were tweeting (or is it ‘twittering’? I never know!) with ‘personalised’ responses to the complaints and engaged in ‘Dialogue’, Not Diatribes’!

Some of the Tweets were pretty nasty – Here’s an example from one angry customer: ‘F*** YOU! SUCK D*** IN HELL.’

A member of the O2 team responded: @grahamcummings7 Maybe later, got tweets to send right now.’

Another irritated customer suggested that simply saying sorry wasn’t enough and that they should go and do something pretty disgusting with their mothers.

One of the O2 replied: @AshleyRoberts61 She says no thanks.’

Apparently O2 did not give their social media team specific instructions on how to respond to their angry customers, but they appeared to have dealt with things in a proactive, professional and personal way.

It’s a great example in this world of increasing expectations of customers where, according to research I highlighted recently that 51% of people who make a complaint on line expect a response, but 85% of those questioned have never received one!

O2 appear to have Dealt with Disappointment well and they are a good example of the 5 key elements of doing it which are:

1. Acknowledge It!

2. Empower For It!

3. Prepare For It!

4. Look For It!

5. Just Deal With It!


  1. O2 added just the right amount of humor to a bad situation, too. Yes, dialogue, not diatribes. Exchanging wrath for wrath never works well, and neither does ignoring the problem. It seems that how they responded was by both putting themselves in the user’s position, and then thinking hard (rather than lashing out) about the best way to diffuse the anger, yet still acknowledge it. Kudos to O2.


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