Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

While it’s easy to give We Are Social (WAS) a right good pasting over their handling of the Eurostar debacle over the weekend – let’s put things into perspective.

For starters: less than 24hrs after the whole thing started playing out, there was a video response from the Eurostar CEO himself, Richard Brown. This is not something to be sniffed at kids.

A video apology, delivered via YouTube, to the LittleBreak website in the form of a blog post. In this day, that is a feat in itself.

How many other CEOs of train operators could you name who would consider doing that (outside of a BBC interview)?  Seriously?

Please do not think for one second that I’m making light of all those people trapped on the train/in the tunnel/in folkestone for God knows how many hours – I’m not.

But look at it like this – if the CEO had put that video up within, say four hours of the incident taking place, how easy would it have been to cry:

“OMG! What is he doing wasting time posting on a blog? He should be out there dedicating his time to getting those people out!”

WAS were originally (I assume), hired to create sales and conversation around ‘little breaks’ – facilitated, naturally, by Eurostar. Note: This would mean working with Eurostar’s Marketing and PR team, not their Customer Care dept. Whether or not the addition of a reactive care stream to We Are Social’s (now ongoing?) brief is the mark of a bad agency remains to be seen.

What isn’t necessary – in my opinion at least – is playing the blame game when it comes to addressing ‘twitter concerns’.

Remember – this happened on a Friday night and played out over the midnight hours. Come Saturday morning, the problem was still going on. I know I (at least try to) take weekends off sometimes, I’m pretty sure others do too. But, when the call came in, the WAS guys got themselves over to Eurostar HQ pronto and were camped out there from midday onwards.

By the end of play, they had that video up.

If care was part of the package then someone SHOULD have been online.
It wasn’t, so there wasn’t.

The end.

MIR: An Open Letter to Vodafone UK

James Whatley writes, this week, with an impassioned open letter to Vodafone. Write to your MP. Call your local radio station. Send letters to Arun!

– – –

(Not another mobile web rant, promise.)

Dear Vodafone,

Let’s get one thing out in the open before we start:

I love you.

There. I said it.

It’s out in the open for the entire world to see.

You and I have been together now for over ten years and although there have been a few ups and downs along the way, somehow we have always managed to pull through.

Red, what can I say? The years have been great.

I still regret the affair I had with Orange back in the 90s and I know that my foolish dalliance with 3 is best forgotten. I was weak. Led astray by promises of ‘revolutionary’ handsets and blinded by their multitude of minutes. Ultimately I was betrayed by my own greed. They just weren’t you Red.

After all these shortfalls, you were there for me, waiting to take me back with open arms whenever things went wrong.

I am a card carrying member…

Fwd: Whatley on Wednesday - An open letter to Vodafone

… of your love parade and I am proud to say that I recommend you and your network to anyone looking to change providers, (and often to those that aren’t). Everything from the fantastic customer service to the virtually non-existent drop-call rate, Vodafone you put a smile on my face by never letting me down.

But as the years have gone by (and my monthly spend has slowly gone up) I have felt, lately, a strange detachment forming betwixt you and I.

Thing is, there is some shall we say, room for improvement.

When you rolled out 3.5G? Brilliant! Amazing in fact! But at £2.35per meg you and I both knew that something had to give… and it did! You went and released your own little data bundle… And at the same price as T-Mobile’s too! What a fantastic move… But no, you had to spoil my fun by going and capping it at 120mb. C’mon… You know can do better than that!

Signal strength is second to none. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve been out and about with friends and being the only Vodafone subscriber of the group has meant I was the only one in the with a signal.

However when it comes to your Tariffs, you may have great coverage but it seems that this comes at a price too. You’re, dare I say it, high maintenance.

Admittedly you’ve tried to wean me off my old school 3000mins per month tariff for ages now but you have nothing that comes anywhere near it currently. 1800mins for £75?! Shocking. You’re good but you’re not that good Red.
I’m not budging. Yeah ‘Stop the Clock‘ – is pretty cool but can I have Vodafone Passport?

“Not on such an old tariff Mr Whatley.”


Voda, you know I feel about you. Take me on my word: You need to catch up! You could be left behind! 3, who were once the laughing stock of the UK operator market, now have one of the sexiest offerings around with their X-Series.

See, o2 got the iPhone, (you did well to avoid that), and you went and got the N95 8GB for an exclusive amount of time. Excellent choice. But why did you have to cripple it with your own firmware?
It’s like three steps forward and two steps back sometimes, really.

Hopefully, when the iPhone v2 comes along you’ll be right there waiting to grab it and pass it onto to your loyal followers. Hell, if YOU get the next version of the iPhone, I might even get one.
Now there’s a statement.

Can you imagine? With you Voda and your super HSDPA (3.5G) and solid CS, network etc…

It would be killer.

But hey – that’s the future – let’s talk about now.

Let’s move onto the one thing that gets me the most… and I’m sorry to bring this up… (I mention it every time we speak) the ONE bugbear I have with you? The teeny tiny thing that I just cannot stand?!


Tell me, Red, why do you not offer ANY MMS bundles?

None. Nada. Zip. Absolutely, positively ZERO. NOT. A. THING.

Videos, sound clips, pictures… all charged 35p-50p a go. It drives me nuts about you. WHY OH WHY OH WHY?!

You offer one of the latest and best phones (the aforementioned 5MP beauty from Nokia) and you don’t offer ANY MMS bundles to support it?!!!!!?!!!

You say that the requirement isn’t there, that the advent of picture messaging has not been the success that the networks thought it would be…
Well, if you charge for every single MMS sent and don’t allow anyone to add anything to their monthly tariffs then what on earth do you expect?!

You gladly give me video call minutes (which I actually use from time to time) every month as part of my tariff, but not video messaging?! Insane.

It’s been like this since September 1st 2006 Vodafone and I’ve let it go month on month on month… This has got to stop!

Voda, I love you, and I think that you love me.
Try this, do it for the sake of us…

Make MMS free for a month.

Yes. That’s right. FREE. Like you did with Mobile TV, (albeit that was for three months), try it. SEE the uptake.

Look after your customers.
Love them.
Save them money.

And above all, save ME money. Help me love you more.

Yours hopefully,

James Whatley