When Your Product Fails, Is A Response In Itself Enough?

Both #Tmobilesucks and T-Mobile have been trending topics consistently throughout the day. It all started on Friday, when the data network for T-Mobile's popular Sidekick line of phones went down. Sidekick users have lost access to everything outside of basic calling and texting capabilities, including their contacts lists, which are dependent on the data network. Among the thousands of twitter users affected by the outage is @PerezHilton, whose tweets on the subject as of today are just as upset, if not more, than they were at the outage's onset, despite numerous messages and replies from @TMobile_USA.HowWillTMobileRespond
So what is a brand to do? If you look at @TMobile_USA's feed, you'll see reply after reply to the affected users. They also released a statement on Saturday with a timeline which suggested that services would gradually return to users beginning on Saturday night, with "a significant portion of data services to be restored by Monday." According to another statement released on Sunday, web browsing services were restored on Saturday "and the teams have been working through the night since the disruption started to enable additional functions such as IM, social networking applications and email as quickly as possible." Additionally, T-Mobile has reportedly been giving out service credits of anywhere from $35 to three full months of free data service to users contacting customer service to complain about the issue.

But as of this moment, the power outage continues to be a hot topic and we have yet to see reports of fully returned service on Twitter, or anywhere else for that matter. While we could think of a few more suggestions for T-Mobile's social media response, the truth of the matter is that it's very difficult to argue with a large-scale service outage. Had T-Mobile been able to repair the issues caused by the outage sooner, #Tmobilesucks might not be a trending topic this evening. That being said, their overall response has been admirable, and so I'd like to offer a couple more suggestions for them: - Explain what happened. Regardless of service credits and apologetic responses, customers have still been left in the dark about the cause of this issue. Whatever the cause, they need to have some security that it won't likely happen again - and they can't have that without understanding the cause itself. - Respond via the #Tmobilesucks hashtag! I know that a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, but this is what the world is watching and right now there is no official T-Mobile presence there. Even if all they did was to say, "We want everyone to know that we're watching the #tmobilesucks topic and doing our best to respond to everyone! Pls follow us for updates," their response would be viewed by hundreds if not thousands of users following the hashtag.

- Devin