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Calming a twitstorm: O2’s masterclass in dealing with ‘outage outrage’

On 11 July, O2 experienced widespread network problems affecting hundreds of thousands of its customers. Those who were affected suffered a complete loss of 2G and 3G network services, crashing mobile, landline and broadband connectivity.

Thousands of seriously irked customers instantly took to Twitter to vent their frustrations at being starved of their vital O2 supply, spoiling to let the company know how badly they had been let down, even threatening to cancel their contracts and move over to other networks.

@O2 was inundated. During the two-day network outage, new Twitter followers increased from an average of 155 to 13,500 per day. O2 quickly became a hot topic in the Twittersphere, with a 4,836 percent uplift in people talking, @replying and re-tweeting.

Using Wunderman’s Social Favourability Engine (a tool that interrogates comments, posts, tweets, blogs and forums to track brand perception) to categorise the Twitter conversation by basic emotions we found that the emotions most frequently expressed about the network outage were anger and sadness. Approaching the end of the first day, this mass of negative tweets had reached an estimated 1.7 million people…(continued)

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