Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sofa Shenanigans

We’ve made quite extensive use of social media in Virgin Media (as can be seen in the presentation I posted last week) and are doing more things in the future.
One of the successes we’ve had over the last year or so has been something that we call ‘The Sofa’, which is in essence a community we set up in order for customers to be able to give us feedback and generate ideas about our products – alongside the help & support forums we have setup to compliment our invite-only ‘Sofa’ community (customers being invited based on survey feedback they have given us).

We’ve learnt a lot from it, taken plenty of ideas back into Virgin Media and are always being challenged with interesting questions to answer.

The next step was clearly for us a really good event I was lucky to attend (along with our product, marketing, customer research and PR teams and a number of our senior management team) in our London offices last Friday - a face to face get together with some of the customers.

After a bit of a meet and greet we were able to quiz customers about what services they have from Virgin Media, what they do and don’t like and their ideas for other things we could be doing and how we can do things better – which is my day job after all!

After some lunch we went through some presentations from the product teams covering how we’re bringing together home phone and mobile services, what’s coming up in the near future for broadband (100Mb, more upstream speeds etc) and the presentation that seemed to get the most people excited, the one about TiVo.

We followed up with some ‘speed dating’ where we paired up with customers and got to dig deeper into some of their issues and ideas and I came away with oodles of great insight after a really enjoyable day interacting with customers direct – which is something I always love doing.

From speaking to those present they all seemed to get a lot out of it (both staff and customers) and I’ve included some pictures from the day below.
The voice (home phone & mobile) team 'speed dating' with customers

One of the breaks - the PR, broadband, mobile and customer research teams speaking to customers

Home Phone director Alex Perrin (far right) shares a cuppa with some customers

The marketing team 'speed dating' with customers

Talking TiVo with the TV team

With some customers even coming from as far away as Scotland for it, thanks for taking the time out to help us improve our products and services even more – it really is appreciated.

We look forward to doing more events like this in the future.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Presentation to Institute of Customer Service

I've been asked by the Institute of Customer Service to do a presentation in Birmingham tomorrow about how Virgin Media is using social media for customer service, and the slides can be found below (hosted at SlideShare) if you're interested:
Thanks to all those who've helped out with information, especially our wonderful media relations and Twitter teams!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

@virginmedia Wordcloud

Am working on some slides for a presentation about social media customer service, and I headed over to Wordle to do a Wordcloud of our @virginmedia Twitter feed - which I thought you might like to see:Click on the image for a larger version.

Seasoned followers of us on Twitter will recognise 'st' as being the signoff from Sam of the 'Twitter tweam' as well as 'bmc' being Billy and 'pm' Pete of the same team respectively. They're doing a wonderful job and we think they're great.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I do enjoy the daily Dilbert e-mails that I get through - and today's has to be the funniest one I've seen for a long time.


Reminds me of a few conversations I've had with some companies about social media!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Growing up a country that’s very young (geologically that is, although John Cunningham probably still jokes that it closed at 8pm … In 1950!) as New Zealand is, earthquakes are a fact of life – and it’s the seismic activity that brought about most of New Zealand’s natural beauty.

I’ve been in a few in my time, the most memorable of which was one that was (if I remember rightly) a 6.7 on the Richter Scale and really shook the house up at breakfast time at our house in Dunedin.

But this weekend it’s been something quite different, with a massive quake of 7.1 hitting Canterbury. The epicentre was about the same distance off the coast of Christchurch as the Haiti quake (also a 7.1) was to Port-au-Prince.

It was the worst quake in New Zealand for 80 years, when there were two 7.8 quakes in a period of two years (my late grandmother remembered the Murchison quake only too well).

While 230,000 people were killed in Haiti there was just one person lost in the Canterbury quake, and that was due to a heart attack during the big shake.

There’s an interesting article as to why there was such a big difference here, but the fact it was at 0435 in the morning and in a much richer country have to be the key factors (the ‘depth’ of the epicentre in the earth is usually the other key one). All the same, something like NZD$4bn worth of damage has been caused (c£1.9bn).

I don’t have any close family (just some cousins of my Dad, and they are all fine - but dealing with property damage) in the Christchurch area, but my best friend from school Bernie lives there and posted some scary pictures on Facebook (which I have blatantly plagiarised):
I feel especially sorry for his daughter, who has been terrified with all the aftershocks, and it’s been really heart wrenching to read some of the bloggers and Twitterers, but at the same time some of the most spectacular pictures have been posted online:
Also, have a look at the Google Earth visualisation of the quake.

While some of the gallows humour (a friend of mine decided it wasn’t serious as Dunedin was just lightly shaken awake and no beer spilt!) has no doubt kept spirits up, it does make me think of the ‘big one’ we were always told was on the way as I grew up … and most likely to hit Wellington (where my nephews live). Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen in their lifetime.