Indian Telecom trying to win customer heart through Social Media

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 1886 , Published on 06 August 2013

Operating in the midst of thin margin and intense competition, telecom industry is one of the fastest growing industries in country. Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, Idea Cellular, Tata DoCoMo and Aircel are some of select brands that occupy this elite market. Bharti Airtel alone consumes 21.75% of the market share, followed by Vodafone with 17.47% (data source COAI & AUSPI dated 28/02/2013).  There is an observed change in trends of consumer’s behaviour, and so, major companies have started changing (or modifying) their traditional style to reach out to modern customers. On the other hand, social media is gaining exponential popularity and has created a space for all modern consumers in India in last couple of years. It has given people a seamless platform to interact, convey messages, share experiences and views privately as well as publicly, via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs etc.

Facebook and Twitter alone, which have over 1 billion users, recognise India as one of their major user bases. In terms of online fan coverage, Tata DoCoMo has more than 13 million fans on its Facebook page and 69 thousands followers on Titter which is well beyond the scope of its counterparts. Realising the scope of social media, companies have started using Twitter even as a customer support channel. Through it, they are able to respond and solve customers’ problem. It seems that the entire focus is shifting gradually towards social media. You now get prompt support through telecom’s social media channels than you get through its usual toll free complain number.

And this is the case with any other companies. Compared to old-school tele complaints, customer problems are resolved faster and efficiently through social media since the solution can be published to multiple audiences at a time. However, as much as a godsend, social media also makes companies susceptible to public vilifications by unhappy customers. For while companies publish solutions to multiple audiences real-time, so do the aforementioned customers produce conspicuous criticisms, leaving even big reputation defenceless.

Besides support channel, social media has also changed marketing and PR. Customer are kept engaged on Facebook, Twitter pages with interesting quiz contest, draws and campaigns which help to retain popularity and furthers advertisement. Case in point, the Zoozoos campaign by Vodafone. Social media has proved itself as a cost effective and engaging phenomenon since it facilitates two way commutations. If implemented properly, companies can have high ROI and also target only the right group of people.

Social media users like to express and discuss their views, grievances, issues, and expectation through their post (publicly or in group) about brands. According to the recent brand analysis, Vodafone and Tata DoCoMo are the brands most active in engaging customers on social media. These two brands have more number of fans on Facebook compared to US telecom giants like Verizon Wireless and AT&T.  Similarly, Vodafone Zoozoos and Aircel are the fastest growing circles on Facebook.


Data Source Twitter & Facebook, as on 24/05/2013


The article has been authored by Diwakar Yadav, SIBM Bangalore


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