I want to reveal that some members of the community have secretly spent the past few months as customers of some of the competitor networks (and they came back). We were gathering intelligence and insight so that we can work on making giffgaff better and more competitive. This was a trial experiment and it was successful so in the future I’d like to do something like this again.
For the last 3 months I’ve been working with a few members of your community here to check up on and keep an eye on our competitors. Specifically Voxi, Smarty, Superdrug and ChatChit. These are small MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) who usually have some really good prices. I reached out to the team from The gaff (the weekly community-run newsletter posted using the Contribute tag) @willp789 @bluemoonbaz @revilo10 @toxiic and @jammydodge because they share some common passions (Telco News) and we had some previous and very positive interactions. The team are known for their writing and knowledge of the Telecommunications sector and I knew them enough to trust them to carry out this interesting experiment.
What they did specifically was to pretend to leave giffgaff and join these 4 networks and to use the competitors’ services for about 3 months, becoming their customers. One of the team even (on request of the experiment) stopped visiting the giffgaff forums (almost) altogether to immerse themselves fully into what it would be like without giffgaff. The team each kept a private diary of their experiences from porting into the provider to using various services; including the customer service, complaints, adding credit, buying tariff refreshes (what we call ‘goodybags’), browsing the website and using the services normally.
The biggest differentiator which you all already know is that no company has a community even close to the giffgaff community. If a person leaves giffgaff then they won’t get the community feel elsewhere. This means that having quick answers from fellow customers, being considered a member of a group and the other traits that being a giffgaff community member brings aren’t available via those companies. The other differentiator is time and experience. A lot of these new MVNOs have learned a lot from observing giffgaff and are using new technologies and big budgets. They haven’t quite caught up yet and even though they can be cheaper sometimes they are sometimes making financial losses just to undermine giffgaff’s market share.
Another thing to note it that the participants were not paid - it was done purely in the interest of science and experimentation and because the team likes to produce news and understanding of the telco market that affects giffgaff. This mission was kept a secret as discretion is always advised when carrying-out activities relating to market intelligence. The mission is now complete and activities with competitors are concluded.
What am I going to do with the results of the experiment? Well, I’m going to present all the findings to the giffgaff, O2 and Telefonica leadership teams showing them some on-the-ground and less-biased impressions of some of our competitors and show them that lots of innovation and insight can involve members contributions even beyond what you do with us now.
So, you may be wondering who I am. I am head of market and competitor intelligence at giffgaff. I manage a team of researchers here at giffgaff HQ and I help giffgaff gain deeper insights about what’s happening in the telco world. A lot of what I know is commercially sensitive and sometimes even reacting to some of the conversations strays close to what shouldn’t be shared and sometimes I can’t react at all. It’s certainly unique to observe and interact with all of you and with this particular experiment and I hope to get more opportunities to work with the community again soon (such as the 5G trials).
All of the participants' contributions contributions inside of this experiment are protected by GDPR rules and confidentiality but I will be happy to share the overall results in due course. Of course, please feel free to ask the team any questions about what they experienced when they were using these networks.
Warts and all, we confirmed that giffgaff is not the best at everything but we’re still learning and testing with a goal to keep improving giffgaff.
Thanks guys and thanks again to:
@willp789 (case officer)
@bluemoonbaz (Voxi agent)
@revilo10 (Smarty agent)
@toxiic (Superdrug Mobile agent)
@jammydodge (ChatChit agent)
I can't thank them enough and looking fwd to the next gaff.