Tag Archives: online reputation management

Amosta Solutions Tab for Rs.8 on Paytm! – Who will own the mistake?

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!

Amosta Solutions

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.

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 TwitterMost 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. 

Recent Case

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?

Online Reputation Management Case Study: Citibank vs SBI

Online Reputation Management or commonly referred to as ORM has been a key topic of discussion for brands, digital marketing teams and digital marketing agencies. Thanks to the empowered Information age generation and easy to use websites, this Information Age generation often share their experiences with a brand on online platforms, mostly on social media platforms. Hence, it has been imperative for brands to have in place a well thought through Online Reputation Management strategy in place to leverage the positive wave and to curb the crisis situations.

Let’s understand why this area is often talked about and a crucial one for brands through this first hand experience I had last week with two banks – Citibank and SBI. One fine day I received a call from an unknown number and when I attended it, the person on the other side claimed to call from SBI, Hyderabad office. According to him, my SBI debit card had expired and was to be renewed else he would block my debit card! He was continuously asking me to share my debit card number. His voice tone, language, nothing seemed to be professional and when I asked him few cross questions he hung the phone! Who does that? I immediately traced the mobile number and found that it was from Bihar. We have often read about such incidents in newspapers, on social media, but it was my first experience. So, what did I do? I simply shared my experience and tagged SBI’s official Twitter handle in my tweet.

As if this experience wasn’t enough, on the same day I received a suspicious email from Citibank and I took screenshot of this email to tweet about it by tagging Citibank’s official Twitter handle.

Being a social media professional I always wonder what kind of online reputation management strategy did such large B2C brands have in place. In fact many a times we complain or share our experience about a brand, but hardly receive any acknowledgement or response from the brand. In this case at least both the brands replied to my tweets. Now, let’s see what did they reply to me. I will first share two replies that SBI shared with me:

Did those responses make any sense to you? Yes, No, Maybe? Before you make an impression about these replies from SBI, do also check what Citibank replied to me:

What do we learn from this Online Reputation Management case study?

  1. Brands should think aloud and set up their social listening tool with all various keyword options. Though in this case the user (i.e. I) directly mentioned the brand. In many cases people might just write ‘Citibank’ or ‘Citi bank’. The social listening tool should be configured to all such keyword variations.
  2. Brands should acknowledge and reply all positive, negative tweets / posts, queries if any that come across them. Luckily, in this case I received replies from both brands
  3. Communication should be personalized. Refer the response from Citibank which starts with ‘Thank you’, which is a clear indication that brand acknowledges your effort to inform them. On the contrary SBI’s reply had no such personal sentiments. It helps to use that kind of language for users to be comfortable
  4. Try to provide solution to the query / complaint. In this case SBI just asked to me refrain from sharing details and visit nearest branch. While Citibank acted prompt, assessed the seriousness of the situation and suggested me to share my contact details. The next day, I received call from Citibank call center and they explained me the situation. So who wins?

I hope this blogpost helped you to understand the intricacies of online reputation management. In case you have come across any other strong online reputation management case study, do share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Should CXOs participate actively on social media? – A case study of Cashkaro.com

We have read the debate many a times in the past if CXOs should participate actively on social media. Many have a viewpoint that they have better things to do for their organization and they can’t be active and so on. But, on the other side we also get to hear about extensive social media presence of some iconic CXOs. Have you wondered, if they should be active on social media?

I will leave it to you to decide, if CXOs should be participating in social media, with this case study of Cashkaro.com, a cashback and coupons site. Cashkaro.com

I got introduced to this brand when they contacted me on Twitter and asked to fill up a Google form and assured me of a gift. I did fill the form to see what happens! Few days passed by and I didn’t receive anything from their side. I wondered if they would use my contact details for any other purpose and also went to an extent to think if it was a fraud company. This made me frustrated and I asked the status of my gift on Twitter. A surprise awaited me!

Swati Bhargava, the co-founder of Cashkaro.com, replied my tweet immediately and assured me that they were working on it. This impressed me a lot. There are very few CXOs in India who are active on social media and more importantly ‘do realize the need to do so’.

My conversation with Swati Bhargava

My conversation with Swati Bhargava

A few days passed by and some other influential Twitterati too wrote about non-receipt of the gift. I too joined the bandwagon again. Once more, I was stunned to see Swati replying back us very promptly and she did her best by re-assuring us that the gift is on the way and we will receive it soon.

Swati's conversation with other influencers

Swati’s conversation with other influencers

On 1st October, while I was working late in office, I noticed the below Facebook post. I thought, gosh! What have these people (Cashkaro.com) done! They collected details from Twitter influencers and their gift delivery to one of the most popular influencer was delivered in a damaged form, which made him go ahead and post about it on Facebook. The situation was very serious, given the fact that the influencer was very well known on Facebook and hundreds of people interacted with him on any day. There were high chances for Cashkaro.com to ‘earn free negative publicity’.

Alok Kejriwal's Facebook post

Alok Kejriwal’s Facebook post

Now, what would have a typical CEO of other brand done:

–   Contacted Alok Kejriwal by a private message and requested him to take down the post

–   Compensated in a better manner

–   Blamed the courier company

Haven’t we seen all of the above cheap tactics followed by brands in recent past? Now, that’s what differentiates your brand from your competitors and not your cheesy taglines / well-designed logo etc.

Swati, Cashkaro.com CEO immediately took control of situation and countered the situation in an effective manner:

–  She ‘accepted the error’, apologized for the inconvenience and also promised to resend the gift.

Swati's reply on Alok Kejriwal's Facebook post

Swati’s reply on Alok Kejriwal’s Facebook post

Look at the reaction above. Did you notice? 12 people who saw that post also liked the reply by Swati. It sends a clear message that people appreciated the efforts of a CEO who promptly responded to a crisis situation.

There she goes ahead and thanks people who appreciated her efforts.

Swati Bhargava's reply on Alok Kejriwal's Facebook post

Swati Bhargava’s reply on Alok Kejriwal’s Facebook post

A cherry on the icing was a networking opportunity!

Networking opportunity

Networking opportunity


–  Gone are the days when CXOs weren’t considered to be active interacting with various stakeholders on a daily basis. There are many CEOs who spend considerable amount of time interacting with variety of people.

–  As a CXO, if you aren’t informed about a particular situation, at least acknowledge the query / complaint and let the person know that there is someone who is listening to you. Believe me it sends a strong positive image.

–  As a CXO if you set an example, there are high chances that other members of your organization would respect social media as a serious platform. This would gradually make an organization more customer-centric.

If you have an opinion that CXOs of larger companies can’t do this exercise in daily routine, fair enough! But, do check this list which names 60 top CEOs in the World who are active on social media. I am proud to see Anand Mahindra on 6th position of this list. So, if you are a CXO and reading this blogpost, do question yourself and if you think you are more successful person & ‘busy’ than Richard Branson and Anand Mahindra, then probably I agree, you won’t have time to be active on social media. May God help you!





How to convert negative sentiment blogpost into a positive one?

As a journalist waits for a sensation to happen, individual bloggers wait for an opportunity to grab eyeballs. As soon as they perceive a marginal error – on a brand’s social media channel, they go ahead and blog about it to gain attention in the blogosphere. I am not saying they are wrong every time, but sometimes bloggers don’t understand how a brand operates and if they have missed to do something, many a time it is done knowingly with some logical reason behind it. If they have outsourced the social media activities to an agency, the co-ordination between the brand and agency is in itself a matter of worry. But, blogging domain believes in the principle of “anyone can write anything about anyone!”

So, the dilemma for brands is how to react to such blogposts? There could be following situations: 1) if you are a much bigger brand and don’t bother about such street corner bloggers, just shrug them off and move ahead. 2) If you are new brand or a medium scale brand with many competitors around, you can’t do the above. You should be motivated and proactive to respond to that blogger in such cases. But how do you reply?

–          Do not try to engage with the blogger through email conversation. This would show your desperation and make the blogger feel proud. Sometimes, there is a risk that they act smart by utilizing your email content for a sequel blogpost and then the brand needs to take endless damage control steps.

–          The better strategy would be to accept your fault on the blogpost itself in the comment section of the blogpost. Let the blogger know that if he/she is trying to act smart, brands have much higher stake in place and as a brand you are ready to take the conversation in the open. So, login through the brand’s Twitter / Facebook (do the smart choice!) account in the comment action and do three things:

  • Accept for the faults that you have genuinely missed and blogger has identified the same.
  • Appreciate the blogger for bringing this to the notice of the brand.
  • Share with them the corrective measures that you have implemented and it is always advisable to share the links. So, when a reader goes through this blog, and reads the comments section, he/she would find that brand has a good listening mechanism in place and they are responsible enough to react quickly.

In this way brands can utilize the negative sentiment and convert it into a positive sentiment, “with due respect to the blogger”.

If you have handled such scenario in a different manner, share your experience below.

How active listening and participation on Twitter helped me win a free pass to Nasscom Social Media Summit

We have often heard from social media experts, read in blogs how one should be an active listener on Twitter. Many people really don’t realize the power of listening on Twitter and just consider those tips to be a “gyan” from social media gurus. I am here to share my real life experience of how I got benefited by listening actively on Twitter. Just read on, and hope this blogpost motivates at least some of you to practice listening of Twitter.
NASSCOM organized a one-day Social Media Summit on April 29, 2011. I was aware about the event a month ago, through one of my friend. So, I regularly made it a habit to check the website and keep myself updated about the agenda, speakers who were to address and so on. No doubt, its a tiring job to reach a website, look for information (you know its really tiring in this social media world). While one of such visits to their website, I noticed that NASSCOM had announced the official hashtag of the event as #nasscom_sms in the “Overview” section of the event website. I was simply relieved having noticed this. Later on, I just created a new stream in my Hootsuite dashboard on #nasscom_sms and started following all updates about the event. Now, I didn’t have to visit their website regularly. I had all updates related to the event flowing in my Hootsuite dashboard stream, and I started listening them since many days before the event.
One, fine day I saw the following update in the #nasscom_sms stream –

Wow! It was a great opportunity to answer a simple question and win a pass to the event. No, doubt I noticed this tweet a day later and immediately replied to them. My reply tweet was –

Was I the only smart person listening to Nasscom’s hashtag? No, there came another tweet from @dotmanish the very next day. He too, was trying his luck and here is his tweet –

So, there were now two guys in race for the free pass to attend the event and guess what?? Here, came the surprising announcement –

Wow! So we both won a free pass, probably our efforts to listen actively on Twitter was rewarded. Here are the takeaways for the reader –
  1. Hashtags are a powerful search keywords on Twitter
  2. Look for hashtags that are relevant to your interest
  3. Twitter as considered to be an ideal broadcasting platform is a half-baked truth. Twitter could be an ideal listening / search platform (many people consider it to be the 2nd largest search engine after Google).
  4. Brands trying to build conversations need to make use of relevant hashtag and make a clear announcement of the same, so that people start following the particular hashtag.
Hope, now you don’t have second thoughts on listening actively on Twitter…So just go ahead and start listening!!!
Acknowledgement: Thanks, @dokito for floating such contest and providing me an opportunity to witness the event