Mark Bridge writes:
Marketing, not unlike football, is a funny old game. I don’t claim to be an expert in either… but every so often something happens that starts sowing the seeds of doubt in my mind. And no, I’m not thinking about Liverpool's penalty claims in Sunday’s game at Tottenham. I’m thinking about Blyk.
Here at The Fonecast, we like Blyk. They shook up the industry and worried some of the big names when they arrived with their youth-focussed virtual mobile network two years ago. We interviewed their MD Shaun Gregory in May last year. And now they’re quitting the MVNO game in favour of arranging advertising deals for networks.
Well, things change. You can’t blame Blyk for adapting as the mobile environment evolves. But they way they’re doing it? That’s got me puzzled.
First, they appeared to be dropping their customers pretty unceremoniously. Their press release in July said “Blyk members will continue to enjoy all the benefits of the service until 26th August, at which point Blyk’s MVNO operation ends in the UK. Since Blyk’s inception its members have freely aired their opinions and demonstrated their independence and individuality. Thus, as young people do, Blyk members will select the best alternative on the market to meet their individual needs.”
That’s a message that could easily be interpreted as “clear off, we don’t owe you anything – you’ve got a month to find yourself a new network”. A few customers left less-than-positive comments on the Blyk UK blog – and that might have been the end of the negative comments if Blyk hadn’t asked its members what they’d thought about the Blyk experience. Fair enough; a bit of consumer research is generally useful. But then Blyk published its members’ comments. Over three thousand comments that, amongst the plaudits, included Blyk is crap, A rip off and Your rubbish. You don't work. Those are some of the more polite ones. Yes, the majority are positive – but that’s to be expected when you ask your customers for their best experience. And now they’re preserved online. Well, preserved for a while anyway.
So that’s me doubly puzzled. Why give the impression that you’re dumping your loyal customers and you don't really care who they choose next – and why publish so many comments that are either negative or irrelevant?
Yes, irrelevant. Some of Blyk’s customers clearly didn’t have a clue about the fiscal mechanics of the world they inhabited. “I dont like to have a limit on how much i can text or cal,so why did u give limit? Now u might say, well u can top up, however why shall i waste my money when u can give me free credit?”
There’s no neat end to this particular article. No Izzard-like twist that returns me to the beginning. Instead I’ll leave with another of those negative comments that – as I said earlier – are very much in the minority but can’t help but make me smile.
Awful. Things just got worse and worse from the moment i joined. First you rip us off by "giving us more flexibility" and greatly diminishing our text allowance, then you sell out and stop your decreasingly helpful service to make an extra couple quid a month. Something tells me you won't be posting this one.