July 25, 2012 Cam Levack
Canadian telecom provider WIND Mobile has closed its own customer forum, deciding to let the discussion migrate to Facebook and Twitter. Originally titled “The Soapbox” by parent company Globalive, the forum encouraged people to talk about “their priorities, what kind of services and features they want, and what kind of plans they want to see.”
This week WIND pulled the plug, sending the following message to its 430,000 subscribers:
Hello WIND Community Members,
When we first opened the WIND Mobile Community, it was so we could hear from YOU, our amazing customers. We have appreciated and valued your participation here and we always want to hear what you have to say. We are striving to give you the best online experience possible and will be continuing the mobile conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/windmobile) and Twitter (@WINDMobile, @WIND_Cares). The WIND Community here on WINDmobile.ca will be closing. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and with your help, we look forward to continuing to change the Canadian mobile landscape.
-The WIND Team
Why the change? For non-Facebook and Twitter users, it effectively muzzles feedback between the company and its customers (with the exception of direct email). What’s more, it flies in the face of the philosophy so dramatically evidenced in the WIND launch commercial from 2009.
The stylish black and white TV spot was a populist outcry for equality and freedom from contracts. It concludes with WIND’s theme, “The power of conversation.”
WIND customers haven’t missed the irony. Complaints include “They’re just trying to get everyone on contract” … “WIND is preparing to be sold” … “Too many complaints. They don’t want (it) on their corporate site” … “Cost-cutting when they’re already making a fortune” … “They couldn’t handle the truth about their terrible service, next to no coverage, pathetically slow data speeds”.
While you can’t blame WIND for discouraging trolls on its own site, the move does appear to contradict the company’s original philosophy of democracy and fairness. Is it all an inevitable business evolution? That remains to be seen.
Cam Levack, Raven5 Ltd, Toronto, July 2012