Sunday, July 19, 2009

IZZI easily gets its corporate a** Twittered

IZZI, the Latvian cable TV, internet and wireless internet company, whose name is intended to suggest the word "easy" was just shown how easy it is to get your reputation badly ....twittered (as in tattered). The company announced in the spring that it would be first to deliver up to 100 Mbps internet to most of its cable network customers (and, apparently, some on a newer fiber-to-the-home network). It seems that for some customers, this didn't work out. While there are glitches in all new systems, what apparently also didn't work was customer service response and explanations of the problem. Customers were left baffled and without any internet service (or only a slow sporadic connection). Maybe there were not so many customers, but they were the wrong ones for IZZI, inadvertently or otherwise, to screw over.
Riding on a Twitter boom in Latvia, the angry internet users started bad-tweeting IZZI and soon, the uproar (which may well have been a tempest in a teacup involving some equipment on one delivery chain)spilled over into the blogosphere and finally ended up on the evening TV news. It took only a few days, or a couple of weeks at most.
What this proves is that internet service providers can get chewed by the very applications, social and blogging networks that their connections support. The best defense is seeing the early warnings and moving fast to correct the problem, or at least explain it to the customers, so they don't tweet all over the place what a bunch of intellectually challenged persons of apparently light hair color seem to be running customer service and parroting some kind of generic call-center script. I can put that in a politically correct way, but when you are angry and tweeting in 140 characters, it boils down to saying you have been bullshitted by some dumb blonde on the phone.
The problem is being resolved after some mea-culpas from IZZI. Interestingly, Balkom's new/old NGN (next generation network) service promising equally high internet speeds has so far not attracted the angry tweetmob. Perhaps they are using the tried and proven MPLS and other stuff that has been around for some years to load balance and prioritize so that customers get what they paid for almost all of the time.