Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BlackBerry Outage makes the news

It was a sad day for BlackBerry users in EMEA yesterday suffering an all day outage of all data services except text messaging. But it was good news for yours truly as I got invited to comment on the situation live on Al Jazeera news. It was the first time I’d ever done a live news piece so wasn’t sure what to expect.
My main points about the outage were a criticism of the lack of customer communications about the outage – despairing but loyal BB customers just wanted to know what was going on, what was being done to fix it and when to expect normal service to be resumed – that’s not an unreasonable expectation. And since BlackBerry use social media to recruit new customers to the handset and, in particular, to BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) it seemed odd that they hadn’t used those same channels to reassure customers that they were doing all they could to fix the problem.
My two-minute piece isn’t available, but I am quoted in the video below which is very gratifying. And yes, I know my fringe is too long. I’m growing it in anticipation of a new hair cut!

Rather gratifyingly, I also get quoted by David Murphy at Mobile Marketing Magazine in his article about the outage.
It appears that most BlackBerry customers now have their service back to normal but I’m not sure it has been revealed yet what was at the root of it. And it will take a little time to see if formerly loyal customers remain loyal or if sales and brand sentiment will take a dive.

Update 1: It seems that two days on and BlackBerry is still suffering problems but they are at least being a little more communicative with customers.

Update 2: I'd forgotten about this lovely 'BlackBerry' sketch from Ronnie Corbett and Harry Enfield which some of you may enjoy. I know I did when I saw it again. Hat tip to Benjamin Ellis for tweeting it.

Update 3: BlackBerry users have been offered compensation in a smart move from RIM. They're getting $100 of free BlackBerry apps which means that those who take advantage of this will (hopefully) remain advocates of the platform. More over at The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/oct/17/blackberry-free-apps-compensation

Update 4 (Does this story never end?): Traffic accidents fell by 20% in Dubai and 40% in Abu Dhabi during the recent BlackBerry blackout. Wow. More here http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/blackberry-cuts-made-roads-safer-police-say

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