Tag Archives: ORM

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.

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.

Promptness & Relevance: PR mantra on social media

Time and again this amazing micro-blogging platform, Twitter has stumped me with its aura. I simply keep on falling in love with it every other day for being so informative and agile. Really the agility of the platform keeps you on your toes, more so if you are an entrepreneur trying hard to make your mark through this platform. Here, I share an example of promptness and relevance, which I call the PR mantra to be successful on Twitter. This morning I came across a tweet that shared a news item which said that according to a research conducted at Stanford University, organic food wasn’t found to be healthier than that food grown in a conventional manner. Now, that was a shocking research results, though I am used to face such counter-intuitive research results in my research career.

I do not consume any organic food, but have heard through various sources that it does make a difference to health. So, I wondered how the research results differ from the common notion about organic food. I thought to check with two organic food e-commerce players I was aware of – @foodmandi and @farm2kitchen and made a tweet with mention to both at 10.25 am.

I didn’t receive any reply from either of them for couple of hours. I wondered if these brands considered Twitter to be a key platform, it’s a sin for them not to reach on such tweet where you are directly put on spot. If I were the brand manager of the brand, I would grab this opportunity to educate my audience and strengthen top of the mind recall for my brand. Guess what, within few hours I receive this tweet from Farm2Kitchen.  

 

They attempted a blogpost, where they clearly explained the contextual differences of US and India and why the research results highlighted by Stanford University couldn’t be relevant in Indian context. They went on further to share some stats about the amount of pesticides that were used in India and the ill-effects of them that were experienced.

If you are a brand trying to build your mark with social media; here are few key takeaways:

  • Keep your eyes open. Though simple and often repeatedly advised, it does take an effort to practice it with due diligence. For e.g. the last tweet (as of 1530 hours of 5th Sept) from @Foodmandi was at 1304 hrs on 3rd Sept. Now, one could say, its their choice to be responsive or not, but in that case they are mis-leveraging the strengths of the medium.
  • Respect social media users who mention you. It is an opportunity to converse with your audience when they mention you. It is always advisable to respond promptly. In this case, though Farm2Kitchen started working on the blogpost, an immediate response to my tweet that they will get back soon would have been appreciable.
  • Leverage every opportunity to educate target audience. Educating target audience should be ideally a proactive measure. However, when a controversial situation arises in your product category / service, it could be an ideal opportunity to strike the chord with your command on the category and help educate the target audience; as, in this case Farm2Kitchen has done exceptionally well (You got to read their blogpost, to understand why I have made such a strong comment!).
  • Ensure you maintain a top of the mind recall. When you answer such controversies in a convincing manner, this creates a substantial chance for the brand to remain in the top of the mind recall state for the users.

Gone are the days when PR exercises were meant to be just shining on traditional media where brands had ample time. Today it is an era of real-time media. So brands, -“Be Prompt & Relevant”, to build your PR in an effective manner with judicious use of social media platforms. As in this case, Farm2Kitchen created relevance through their educational blogpost and made prompt use of Twitter to disseminate the message further.