IMC experts commend MTN’s apology on network outage

By Felicia Nwosu

Integrated Marketing Communication practitioners have commended the action of Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria, following the recent network outage witnessed by users of the leading network provider, which left them without connection for several hours. For apologising to its numerous and loyal users for the unintentional outage, industry watchers noted that Mr. Toriola’s action demonstrated that MTN is indeed a customer-centric brand.

The giant telco boss, while sending his heart-felt apology on behalf of the entire team of the brand, apologised sincerely for the disruption caused to the large number of customers who rely on the network to stay connected with their families, and manage their businesses, while noting that MTN is strengthening the network to prevent any further disruption of such in the future.

“We wanted to find a way to say sorry to you; while we can’t give you back the time that you lost on Saturday, we can give you back what you spent yesterday. Every customer on the MTN network has received a refund of a data and airtime between 12 noon and 7pm yesterday. We hope that this shows how much that we value you our customer.”

Reacting to the  apology, Dayo Adefila Head of Digital Strategy PZ Cussons (Africa region), noted that the video apology by the  Mr. Toriola, is not a virus or a scam even if it looked too good to be true.

“The apology looked so shocking to some who believed it was an attempt by hackers to lure people to click a bad link. A counter message (written) is now making the rounds on WhatsApp, IG and other channels advising folks not to click the link in the sms which is titled. The fact is that the response from MTN is the new reality of corporates to pay greater attention to customers when there is a service challenge. Customer experience quality is now closely watched by everyone from operatives to the C-Suite and even the Board!”

He continued: “Demonstrating accountability to the customer, who is the Client, is always welcome. Remember, the cost of acquiring a new customer is typically more than keeping an existing customer. I guess Nigerians are not just used to apologies from people in such positions, including from many politicians. DISCLAIMER: I don’t work at MTN. I just found this situation instructive as a marketer.

“We have to do more, to continually earn the trust of our customers.”

Meanwhile, another digital expert, Oti Ukubeyinje VP Product Marketing and Growth at Terragon Group, on his part called for a more engaging PR for customers’ reassurance.

“I think I see a huge lesson here for brands. Seeing as people become scared when the norm now seems too good to be true, such gestures should be preceded with preliminary communications on owned media and PR that’ll prepare customers to receive such gesture. Second lesson here is the use of Anything can be hidden behind a link so a professionally branded short url becomes imperative here to establish trust.”


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