The first thing that greeted me in office on otherwise Monday morning was an ecstatic WhatsApp message from a close friend. I or rather no one could have believed that a 4GB dual slim Android tablet from Amosta Solutions, with 2 MP camera, 4 GB internal memory and 512 MB RAM was available for just Rs. 8/-. Yes, you read it right, Rupees Eight only! Many had a merry time booking them in loads!
Paytm soon (but not before 6,000 orders were placed) de-listed the product from website. The repeated searches throughout the day didn’t yield any Amosta Solutions product on the Paytm website.
Who is at fault?
- Was it Paytm’s fault in updating the product list / feed on website?
- Did Amosta Solutions make a mistake while updating the product feed (in case they had access to the product console)?
- Or was it often sacrificed ‘technical glitch’?
Who should have owned this error?
- As a customer if I have made a purchase on such a reputed ecommerce platform that keeps shouting ‘Paytm karo’ at every nook and corner, I would definitely hold them responsible for the ‘technical glitch’ or ‘human error’. Did Paytm clarify anything about this issue? The answer is big NO!
- Some might argue that Amosta’s team could have committed this error. Assuming that they too are partner in crime (err glitch!), should they have come out and given any clarification? They did! Here’s what they had to say on their Twitter handle.
Due to some Technical Glitch with PayTm, we have currently deactivated and cancelled all products and orders. we will resolve the issue soon
— Amosta Solutions (@AmostaSolutions) August 8, 2016
How did consumer react on Twitter?
Though there were no hashtags floated against Amosta or Paytm, buyers did once again vent their anger on Twitter. Let’s see how some of the buyers reacted on Twitter. Most of them cornered Paytm and accused it for the goofup. But all complaints fell on deaf ears. Paytm, otherwise that claims to be an empathetic brand, kept silent on this entire fiasco and didn’t take any effort to pacify / clarify the buyers.
— Ahsan (@ContestBaba) August 8, 2016
— sumeet ? (@SumeeSays) August 8, 2016
— Abubacker (@AbuCric) August 9, 2016
— Nitin Sharma™ (@itsnitinn) August 9, 2016
The first thought that struck me was the recent Snapdeal case where a youngster’s purchase of iphone 5s 16GB for Rs. 68 was honored valid by Sangrur District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. How many of us would have even thought of filing such case and holding our patience?
Is there a solution for this situation?
Though the situation is serious, probably the vendor this time isn’t a big banner brand, that could have attracted the eyeballs. Hence, the damage has been limited compared to other social media fiascos by brands in the past. But, is there a solution for this situation? How will buyers get justice?
- Should Paytm honor and execute the order as they were the first touch-point for buyers? Most of the buyers are expecting this from the reputed Paytm! Technical glitch might be a genuine reason behind this fiasco, but definitely it isn’t a satisfactory reason to pacify consumers in this digital savvy and informed world. Paytm could come up with some sweet offers just for these buyers to win confidence back.
- Should Amosta Solutions leverage this situation and build a place in hearts of buyers by compensating with an alternative solution? Though the monetary margin of error is extremely huge, an unknown brand like Amosta could win hearts by actually delivering the product. Imagine spending an equivalent amount on some print advertisement versus gaining confidence of so many users who could potentially spread positive word of mouth about this situation.
- Or both Paytm and Amosta just get back to work, as memory of people is fairly less in this country? This is probably the last decision both brands should take. However, its very likely that this is what would happen in due course of time!
It’s easier for brands to enter into a mutually beneficial relationship and make the most of it during best times. But, its equally important for brands to exhibit that synergy during tough times. The blame game is good for defending oneself, but not what customers would entertain.
Yet another crisis situation and a worth learning case study for brand managers on how to approach online reputation management for their brand.
What are your thoughts on this?