These days every brand out there logs on to social media channels to build a conversation with their customers. This process involves them posting about themselves, responding to customer queries/complaints and holding contests.
The DTH industry is one sector where brands are growing their presence socially. According to a report, the Indian DTH business is poised to cross a market revenue of $5 bn. Like any competitive industry for companies to survive, customer satisfaction is of paramount importance.
This post makes an attempt to review the social media activities of key Indian DTH players, with a primary focus on customer support over Facebook and Twitter. The Indian DTH industry today has seven operators –
- Dish TV
- Airtel Digital TV
- Tata Sky
- Reliance Digital TV
- Videocon D2H
- Sun Direct
- DD Direct+
Dish TV is India’s first DTH platform. They have a significant social presence with nearly 4.5 lakh fans on Facebook and over 4.6k people talking about the brand, while on Twitter they have over 7,000 followers.
For DishTV, Facebook is a closed platform and they don’t allow fans to send messages or post on their wall. Only likes and comments on the posts are allowed. Still they respond to customer’s posts which get posted as comments and are relatively quick.
On Twitter, they engage in active conversation to solve customer complaints – they are quick to offer to call customers and make sure that complaint is resolved after the call by sending a confirmation tweet.
Airtel Digital TV
Airtel, a leader in telecom, is trying to do the same in DTH as well. The surprising thing about Airtel is their official website does not have links to their customer support social media channels – instead, they link to Airtel India on Facebook and Twitter.customer support handle.
Being a brand with a presence in different segments, they have over 2.5 million fans on Facebook and allow posting on their Facebook wall. On Twitter, Airtel has over 40,000 followers and the account caters to all Airtel services.
They are probably the only brand that is active round the clock and provide ready support. Their response time is as less as 10 minutes when grievances are posted on Twitter (I’ve personally experienced this and they readily called me on a non-Airtel number; I was not an Airtel customer then).
Tata Sky’s official website does not even have links to their social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) making it difficult to establish the veracity amongst the plethora of Facebook pages present!
Tata Sky is on Twitter with nearly 7,000 followers and like any other brand, they receive numerous complaints from customers all over India. What I have observed in their engagement is, they never use the ‘Reply’ option.
They start a new conversation by ‘mentioning’ the customer. This makes it really difficult for a person to follow the conversation. I believe this is their strategy to prevent anyone else from knowing the general issues faced by Tata Sky customers.
Mention vs Reply
With a timeline like Tata Sky, one will have to go to every profile mentioned by them to check the real customer experience, making things difficult and time consuming. this is probably what Tata Sky wants.
Some time ago I even criticised Tata Sky for doing this, but the tweet went unanswered. This shows that they don’t care about non customer tweets. Tata Sky might argue that they want to protect their customer interests/identity by revealing as little information as possible, but this point does not hold water:
- The tweet is already public on customer’s timeline.
- No customer would reveal confidential information as almost every brand (including Tata Sky) starts following them to obtain phone number etc.
Reliance Digital TV
Social channels of Reliance Digital TV are absolute one way channels. Though they managed nearly 47,000 likes on Facebook and have 1,250 followers on Twitter, Reliance DTV never responds to queries on either Facebook or Twitter.
Their Twitter account is merely a feed of facebook posts. This is a big fail in today’s world.
Videocon D2H, like Airtel is serious about supporting customers. They have over 8 lakh fans on Facebook and over 3,000 followers on Twitter. In addition to posting offers and trivia, they build conversation with customers. Problems are responded to in a friendly and timely manner.
Sun Direct and DD Direct+ do not seem to have official Facebook or Twitter channels. While it is pretty common for government players to have nil or very low profile presence on social channels, the complete absence of Sun Direct is certainly surprising.
Overall, things seem to be doing just about okay with DTH brands. Looking at the number of complaints, it appears that customers don’t face too much trouble like telecom customers. It could also be, that the number of DTH users are far lesser!
I would expect all brands to be online round the clock. If they can keep their phone lines open all the time, why not train the same people to handle social channels as well? The tech savvy generation prefers to tweet rather than talk on the phone; I certainly think so, as I don’t like waiting forever to talk to an operator!