Case Study: IZZI, tweet to save reputation!


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Application for Baltic PR Awards 2010
Category: Issues & Crisis Management

Agency: Hauska & Partner
Client: IZZI

Published in: Education
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Case Study: IZZI, tweet to save reputation!

  1. 1. Baltic PR Awards 2010 Category: Issues & Crisis Management IZZI, tweet to save reputation! Situation IZZI, one of the leading telecommunications companies in Latvia, introduced a high-speed home internet service in April 2009. Right after product launch, serious technical difficulties were experienced, but the company stayed silent on it for over 4 months. Meanwhile the number of subscribers of the new service grew rapidly hand in hand with the number of complaints. Client service info-line was overloaded and more 19 000 complaints were piling up. In June handful of dissatisfied clients started active negative social media campaign against the company, creating snowball effect so that even non-clients joined in and were ready to take some real action. Since IZZI was not represented in social media, the company did not have a slightest idea on the negative buzz until traditional media started to get interested in the story. IZZI involved Consultancy and a crisis communication strategy was created overnight. Research Crisis situation demanded immediate action, so almost an over-night research was conducted that included social media content analysis and stakeholder and issues mapping. Top management, technicians and client service of the company were involved to understand the reasons of the crisis and to work out action plan. Affected clients, opinion leaders in social media, bloggers, employees, journalists, investors and regulator were identified as key stakeholder groups. The lists of each stakeholder group were prepared that included all the contact information and history on previous communication with/on IZZI. Special attention was devoted to analysis of negative campaign organizers and their Twitter activities. Two bloggers were involved to work-out list of social media stakeholders. According to the principles set by Consultancy, IZZI prioritized existent clients according to the level of complaints, interest and communication to work out customized client communication plan.
  2. 2. Strategy The crises management (CM) team was gathered straight after the client brief on June 30, 2009. The developed strategy was approved already on the next day and campaign was implemented from 1 July till 28 July. CM team included relevant managers from IZZI, Consultancy representatives and external social media expert. Focus of the crisis communication strategy was to ENGAGE and speak openly with key stakeholders: affected clients, opinion leaders in internet, employees, and journalists. Holistic integrated CM plan covered all the tasks for stakeholder relations. Objectives of crises management team were the following: 1. Stopped the potential transfer of the issue from social to traditional media. Criteria – direct-sales result for internet services. 2. Reduced pressure among IZZI employees and client affected by technical issues. Criteria – number of received complaints and number of client turnover. 3. Improved Google Top search results. Criteria – number of links to negative items in Google Top 10 generic search results on keyword “IZZI”. Consultancy prepared list of Q&As, provided trainings for involved employees, helped to work out special offers for affected clients. Company involved extra persons to support the client service and used only direct communication with each client to demonstrate the individual approach and care about clients. Consultancy identified most aggressive Twitter users, bloggers and other opinion leaders in social media and treated them as the top priority stakeholder group providing them the most updated information and asking advice for the best solution. First Latvian corporate Tweetup was organized to explain the situation and to discuss the best possible corporate usage of Twitter. On the next day after Tweetup a vacancy of Twitter account operator was announced with 24h deadline and 140 characters long application letter. Selected person started the IZZI Twitter account few days later, all the recruitment process had a wide coverage both in traditional and social media. Twitter account followed all the angry contributors, communicated directly and served as online help-line for customers. Pro-active communication with traditional media was carried out switching their focus from technical problems to the power of social media and to local pioneering of corporate social media usage. Media attention was used for explaining the advantages of technologies used by IZZI internet.
  3. 3. Results Successful crises communication contributed to sales and client service: - sales of internet services dropped in July by 13% compared to June 2009 but increased for 12% in August and for 48% more in September; - complaints on internet reached the highest level in July (7248) that decreased by 29% in August; - Internet customer turnover reached the highest point in July and decreased in following months (August – 15% down, September – 2.5% down). There were only 2 clips in traditional media on the client service issues and 16 clips on Twitter pioneering. In 3 weeks – 4 of 7 negative Top 10 Google generic search results replaced by neutral or positive. Soon after set-up Twitter account reached 483 Twitter followers (approx. 8% of Latvian users at that time). Until the end of 2009 the IZZI case is mentioned as the best practice for social media usage by 7 different business and internet oriented media; campaign leaders invited to explain the case-study in universities and professional associations. Campaign was followed by structural changes in the company and additional trainings to improve the client service performance. Consultancy continues to manage implementation of necessary internal changes to minimize similar reputational risks.
  4. 4. TWEET TO SAVE REPUTATION?! Challenge Major technical breakdown results in severe problems with new internet service 2:42 AM Apr 24th via web Silence 3:22 AM May 28th via web Angry clients start active social media campaign against IZZI 3:52 AM Jun 19th via web Online negative buzz might switch to traditional media Sales 4:02 AM Jun 30th via web 48% Approach Agency involved, crisis communication strategy created overnight 9:42 PM Jul 1st via web Top bloggers, twitterers and dissatis ed clients engaged in solution process. IZZI Tweetup 10:56 PM Jul 6th via web First o cial Twitter account operator vacancy in Latvia announced, media pick up IZZI’s positive story 12:16 AM Jul 7th via web Result Negative buzz kept within Twitter 1:43 AM Aug 17th via web After dramatic fall in July, sales go up 48%, complaints decreased 29% 5:23 AM Sep 28th via web
  5. 5. Competitors Twitter statistics Potential clients Clients in regions Social networks of affected clients Opinion leaders Affected clients July 2009 by ERAF Investors NGO Consumer Rights Agency Corporate clients Industry experts Media Employees Social networks of employees Suppliers Ex-clients Regulator Unaffected clients Politicians Aggregate Hourly tweets (Your Local Time) Aggregate Daily tweets Replies To (@ – 55.30% of total tweets) Sign up now Internet Service Statistics June - September 2009