Giffgaff, zombies and Millennial marketing

Written by on September 8, 2015 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

The crawlJust when I thought I was wrapping up the #DigitalTelco series, along came one more topic that I just couldn’t ignore. Most of us in the Telecoms industry will agree, when it comes to customer experience, there is still a lot we have to learn. Digital transformation and online business have had a huge impact on redefining and reimaging customer experience. Customer expectations have been fundamentally shifted by the likes of Airbnb, Uber, Alibaba and Amazon (ed: still waiting for some books after 3 months). So what customer experience lessons and best practices have operators adopted?

Just check out giffgaff. For those of you not to familiar with the UK market, Giffgaff is a MVNO that runs off the O2 UK network and is owned by Telefonica. Essentially this make Giffgaff a low-cost, no-frills, Millennial-friendly Telefonica brand. And I can’t stress the millennial part enough. The chord-cut, TV-ditching Gen-Yers don’t’ want help. They figure they know more about anything than any of those old folks. If they have problems, they figure it out themselves or they ping a friend.

In response, Giffgaff has no customer service phone lines. Complaints and problems are handled by agents via an online message board system. Responding to complaints can take up to 24 hours.

Giffgaff has community message boards (here) where you post a problem and the gamified experts will help you figure it out. In return, you help other people figure out their problems.  What do you get out of this? Well two things really. One, you get resolution of problems by people that have actually experienced the problems (and hopefully solution) and secondly it should result in a much cheaper mobile service, not having to subsidize all those customer care agents.

Giffgaff actively canvassed it’s customer base for new features and other ideas. The Giffgaff lab encourages customers to make a difference “Want to change something for the better, or have a genius idea? Post it now, then simply sit back and watch what happens next… you may be making Giffgaff history. Ideas are then voted on by the community.

This is reminiscent of the T-Mobile USA type of engagement (here). Mobile by the people, for the people, of the people. Here it really rings true on a “community level”, this experience has a grass roots feel and the message and product is finely crafted towards a very specific segment. I just love their 2013 Zombie ad, claim different can be good and you shouldn’t be afraid. It’s not because I am a Zombie fan, but their audience sure was. Zombies were huge will the Gen-Y’s, it was all anything was interested in offline (ie:TV) or online.

I have to admit my first response (Gen-X) response to all this was, this is all well and good for small MVNOs like Giffgaff or greenfield operators like Free Mobile in France. However this kind of approach, just wouldn’t work for mainstream, incumbent operators. It definitely wouldn’t work for my Baby boomer Mother, it would drive her completely nuts. But, that’s just the point, it’s not for them! Operators are getting smarter (loud cheer erupt from the crowd). It is a mobile operator/MVNO that is very focused on delivering the right product/service to the right customer, it’s not for everyone. Many operators around the world have/are introducing low-cost or segmented brand in order to shape the experience and better engage with their customers.  Are zombies really the future of our industry?

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About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .


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