Jay Rooney took to the microblogging site this week to question why he's still has service with AT&T, which charges through the nose for overseas data. T-Mobile doesn't, and recently pitched unlimited data and texting worldwide in efforts to stand out from the crowd while appeasing the millions of travelers on its roster.
Rooney's one, simple tweet was enough of a catalyst for AT&T and T-Mobile to engage in a virtual fist-fight for the hand of a customer, which saw T-Mobile's boss enter the mix and win over not one, but likely many more potential customers.
AT&T and T-Mobile, the second and fourth largest U.S. cellular companies respectively, used to be close friends. In 2011, the two companies proposed a merger for $39 billion that would see the combined company take on Verizon for the first-place slot. But the Justice Dept. blocked the proposal claiming it would cripple the country's cellular competition. The deal eventually collapsed — both companies taking a financial hit as a result — leaving the two firms well and truly off each other's the Christmas card list.
Since then, the two firms have taken almost every opportunity to take pot-shots at each other. At T-Mobile's Uncarrier event in March, executives mocked AT&T's "confusing" data plans and network speeds, among other things.
Here's what happened in the latest AT&T v. T-Mobile war of words.
Just found out that @tmobile doesn't charge extra for overseas data. What the hell am I still doing with @ATT?
There's a lesson to be learned from this. Customer engagement through carefully defined and considered strategy is all good and well. But when a company chief executive, like John Legere, who has a penchant for saying it how it is in a brutally honest and frank way (trust me on this one) gets right down to the customer-facing level, it certainly doesn't hurt.
In this case, it will likely result in not just one new customer, but many. That's social engagement and marketing done right, kids. Class dismissed.