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Online Reputation Management Case Study: Citibank vs SBI

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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.

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