Vodafone on Twitter has changed. We've made things simpler, cleaner and better for you, whatever flavour of social content you're looking for. Here's how...

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In the first half of 2013, online analysts Social Bakers scoured the Twitterverse for the most responsive customer service feeds, and we were pretty pleased that @VodafoneUK made it into the top three. Social Bakers calculated its rankings based on the amount of queries a Twitter account received and responded to, minus the ones it didn’t, which, across April, May and June meant @VodafoneUK responded to more than 6,000 customers.

That’s great, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the 250,000+ support Tweets that @VodafoneUK has sent since it launched in 2009. With that in mind, it felt right to review all this hard work and figure out how we could improve the experience for our customers, who are increasingly using social as a key way of talking to us. We’ve caught up with Samuel Hall, head of social media comms at Vodafone UK, to find out more.

15cd0b8“Up until now we’ve had two primary accounts,” Sam explains. “We had @VodafoneUK for customer support and news from Vodafone, and we had @VodafoneUKDeals where we would help people upgrade, but that setup never really told our customers where to go for what experience, or what to expect from us. The @VodafoneUK feed was mostly used as a support channel by our followers, although we were also using it communicate relevant news and content, but this sometimes felt a little lost.

“It also felt strange to have a Vodafone ‘brand’ voice mixed with the individual people from our social team all in the same channel.”

With that in mind, we decided it was time to take a more focused approach, and split things right down the middle…

“We’ve turned @VodafoneUK into our main channel for news, sharing content and sharing our love of mobile with our followers,” Sam says. “That’s where we’ll look to provide entertaining content around our 4G partner services, and keep people up to speed with news and insights from our network. It means competitions, challenges and mobile chat aplenty; because – by listening to our fans and followers – we can see that that’s our customers want to see more of.

“We’ve also kept the @VodafoneUKDeals feed for people looking for a new contract or provider. That’s worked really well for us over the last couple of years and still has an important role to play.” Sounds great so far, but what about answering those support queries?

Supporting the support – Welcome to @VodafoneUKHelp

help channel

“There’s a really distinct need for customer service on Twitter,” Sam explains. “It’s what we’ve built our social media presence on over the years and we don’t want to lose that, so we’ve created a new dedicated help channel in @VodafoneUKHelp.

“There are two main reasons we’ve done this. Firstly, it makes it easier for people to see which channels are designed for what. They’re all verified by Twitter too, so people can see which ones they can trust as the official presence. That means people wanting help will get a response from the help feed once we see their Tweets.”


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“Secondly, it means the customer service feed isn’t punctuated by news and promotional content – we know that those kind of tweets can frustrate people when they just want an answer to their question. Plus it gives our help team more of a chance to bring their own personalities to the feed. That’s one of the things people really like about their interactions with our Twitter team; real people are behind the feed. It’s really important that we preserve that.

“This revised line-up of ‘fit for purpose’ Twitter feeds is a huge step in our plan to help our customers to get the most out of their mobile. We’re here to help them in every aspect of their mobile life – whether it’s through entertainment, information or education.”

The right platform for the job

With the sheer volume of help tweets we get through in the noble name of customer support, it’s well worth us taking Twitter as seriously as we do. We sent over 108,000 support tweets last year, and Sam thinks that’s because it’s the perfect platform for the job.

“It’s not about dialling a number and getting put in a queue. It’s not like sending an email and waiting for a reply; it’s very, very quick.”

“I think the joy of Twitter is its immediacy. People – especially the younger internet users – appreciate that immediacy. We know that a huge percentage (64 per cent, according to recent stats) of people use Twitter through their mobile phone, so if they want to engage with their mobile phone company, it makes sense that Twitter is the medium for that.

“It’s not about dialling a number and getting put in a queue. It’s not like sending an email and waiting for a reply; it’s very, very quick.”

And it’s that responsiveness, Sam thinks, that sets us apart. “We pride ourselves on being very responsive and very open, and on providing fast answers that hopefully solve our customers’ problems. I think people now are a lot more comfortable with talking publicly about this kind of stuff, and many are taking to Twitter as their first point of interaction with a brand. It’s our duty now to ensure that when they do, we know they are going to get the reply they expect.”

Wanna get involved? Our new channels can be found at twitter.com/vodafoneuktwitter.com/vodafoneukhelp and twitter.com/vodafoneukdeals