‘Online Relationship Management’ usually freaks out even the best social media professional. Its one of the last responsibility a social media professional or a digital marketing professional would take it. I remember from my own social media days, when I managed the Online Reputation Management (ORM) continuously for 48 hours over a weekend for a new brand launch. You think of every negative adjective and it could be applicable to ORM – nasty, dirty, weird, repetitive, painful etc. However, for a brand its one of the key aspects of overall marketing, irrespective of whether they sell on an online platform or not.
If you are a newbie who has just entered digital marketing domain and wonder what is Online Reputation Management, here is a brief description about it. As a customer we all show our love and hate towards brands across various online channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, YouTube, Complaint forums, Google Maps etc. And we all know that one is eager to complaint about a bad experience more often than to appreciate a great experience from a brand. Hence, the Internet is filled with hatred for brands. Now, some brands don’t pay any heed to them and just walk over. While, some brands especially in service sectors like banking, travel, hotel, telecom, insurance etc. face most of the brickbats and its inevitable for them not to respond those complaints. It helps a brand to pacify the customer (who could be their repeat customer), while it also helps them to introspect their services and improve them.
Here is an interesting situation that I encountered and have been itching to blog about it for long.
Case study setting
It was 4th September, 2020 afternoon, a Friday afternoon, generally a lean period of work (unless you have a major campaign ahead of you :)). A mail popped up on my personal id from WarmOven, an online website to order fresh cakes and desserts destination in Bengaluru. It was about the Teacher’s Day offer, the very next day. As usual, my eyes lit up when I saw a glaring error on the emailer. I promptly replied to them.
I kept it short and just wanted to highlight the error so that they could correct it and resend. Unlike other times, when I usually highlight this on Twitter, I was very kind to the brand and replied them one-on-one. The reason was very simple that, I have been their past customer and I have had some really yummy cakes, delivered on time. Hence, I didn’t want to shame them on a public platform.
Within flat fifteen minutes, I received a prompt response from their team. I loved three aspects of that mail –
- Promptness – It always helps to be on toes and reply the customer, and especially so if it was a complaint. Warmoven team did that perfectly
- Check facts and apologize if needed – The team realized the mistake, which is evident from the first sentence of the mail. It takes lot of courage for brands to admit, but yes it sends a positive attitude to a large extent.
- Reward / Re-engage – They took this opportunity to reward the complainant (which was me). They immediately offered a reward in the form of a coupon code that had 25% offer in it.
- Customization – If you notice, the coupon code was customized with my name, unlike a generic coupon code say, 25OFF. And mind you, all this arrangement done within flat fifteen minutes.
- Fast and Sharp Decision-making – Anyone on the hot seat with the Online Reputation Management responsibility, has to make lot of decisions on the behalf of the brand and communicate it effectively. Many brands would have a standard process to seek permission and make decisions. In case of some brands a standard grievance handling structure is put in place, empowering the frontline (did I pick it up from COVID era??) people.
How did I react to the reward?
I politely explained the team that, I appreciate the human error and my intention was just to correct it. And I reassured the brand that I have been their customer in the past.
Its always important to end the negative conversation on a positive note. I believe the team did it in the best possible manner. And ofcourse it elated me to a great extent.
What do we learn?
As always, I always looked it from a digital / marketing professional’s lens. I feel the Online Reputation Management is not just about replying to negative comments or just pacifying a fuming customer. It could be a great relationship building opportunity for the brands. And hence, I feel it would make sense and send positive vibe if ORM is rechristened as Online Relationship Management.