Improving Customer Perception of Brands by Active Listening on Twitter

By   February 6, 2012

Many a times, customers wonder how they could interact with brands on social media channels. Further, they wonder if there is any worth in interacting with brands. Twitter is one of the best conversation channels if one had to interact with brands. Moreover, its also important on part of brands to continuously monitor interactions related to their brand on these social media channels and try to leverage them for the benefit of brand. Recently, I had an interaction with Apollo Munich Insurance on Twitter and won couple movie tickets! Read on, to know how my perception towards Apollo shifted from negative to neutral (if not positive!), as they found my tweets in right time and engaged with me.

On 19th January, as part of usual practice I visited Times of India website and there awaited an irritating ad from Apollo Munich. The moment one reached the ToI website the homepage revolved and became upside down for few seconds before becoming normal. It was around 7.50 am and one could imagine the frustration if one has to face such ads. Apparently the campaign they were running had the message “Turning Health Insurance Upside Down” and hence probably they went for this creative strategy, but totally ignored the customer perception. I immediately vented out my frustration on Twitter, without tagging Apollo Munich (though I was very well aware of their Twitter handle). I wanted to check if they have robust listening mechanism and if they at all care about people who are talking about their brand on social media.

At last they replied in the evening and apologized for the inconvenience caused due to ad, which I think, was a gentle gesture. Though I may not be the prospective customer for their brand, and I may not be the influential personality in insurance space, yet the brand made diligent effort to apologize for the same. Further, they made sure this negative image is subsided by inviting me to participate in the contest.

It was a simple contest with an objective to spread their message  in which  I had to retweet their message. I assume, as I have decent number of followers (around 690) they would have thought that their campaign reach would increase by few more numbers. How much did it cost me to retweet their message?? Absolutely, negligible amount of time, but I had a faint hope that I might be one of those lucky ones to win the contest.

Guess what! After 4 days, I received this tweet and soon the tickets were delivered to me by courier.

Now, reflecting back one can realize that effort I took to give my feedback was rewarded! One might argue that they would have given me tickets just to pacify my anger and I don’t spread further any other negative word of mouth. But, the take away one needs to concentrate here is that brands need to keep their ears open on web, if they desire to build their brand image amongst today’s networked set of people.

Learning for individual Twitter user:

  • Technology now facilitates to interact with brands at ease and almost at free of cost.
  • We all have freedom to express our speech, why not exercise this right?
  • Be straightforward and express true feelings on social media channels.

Learning for Brands:

  • Irrespective of whether you have presence on social media channels or not, your stakeholders are talking about you 24 x 7!
  • Even if you have established your presence, brand should make diligent efforts to scan conversations across web and try to use them in their stride
  • Any person expressing his / her views about any action taken by brand should be acknowledged at the earliest. This becomes even more important if the views are negative in nature.
  • Sweepstakes always work, but don’t necessarily make customers buy the product!

 

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