An Incomplete Attitude Shift

There would be no businessman in today’s world who does not appreciate the role of social media in customer engagement, be it for promotion or feedback. If there is someone like that, all that I’ve got to say to him is ‘The world is watching and talking about you even if you to close your eyes and ears!’

Of late I have seen a lot of cases in India where frustrated customers who are not redressed for their concerns approach the wider world to announce the dissatisfaction. Like I read somewhere, gone are the days when your discontent customer complained to his ten close friends. Today he voices it out to thousands and thousands of people on twitter or facebook! And worse still, even if you address the complaint the scar remains in the virtual world for years to come, available to anyone by just keying in your product’s name! If someone out there still questions the power of social media in brand building and developing a loyal clientele, I ‘m afraid you need to open your eyes!

But that is just one side. This attitude of free expression and uncommitted (yet valuable) opinions has evolved with the cyber world and open sourcing. The concept of such synergistic development through sharing has been further promoted extensively by social media network. Reluctant users in India who preferred to stand by the side and observe have at last begun diving into it, and the virtual world created by these networks is precariously threatening the real world which we are so familiar with. Common conversations seem to be dominated by terms like ‘online’, ‘facebook’, ‘wall’, ‘comment’, ‘friend request’, ‘tweet’, ‘post’, ‘network’, ‘follow’ etc. Like every other thing in the past that has been welcomed with apprehension, I am sure social media is also here to stay and it would be only wise to put your thinking hats and ensure that you don’t lose out to competition in making use of this new tool.

Looking at it from the customer’s side, social media networks are very powerful tools to grab the attention of those customer care agents who have been evasive for perhaps months together! I have myself had experiences in this respect. I contacted HDFC Bank and British Airways through twitter for complaints that were being ignored for months and I got immediate response, at least in terms of a reply which indicates that someone has gone through my case and I have a record for it now. The other instance that happened with me is regarding Vodafone. After having spent an entire day in the hassle of listening to IVRS and talking to countless customer care agents with their standard scripts I was annoyed to the extent that I wrote an open letter detailing the issue on my blog and sent the link to the Vodafone customer care ID and twitter account. You won’t believe me, what could not be done in one entire day of telephonic conversations was resolved in half an hour after I got a call from one of their senior executives who read my post! Now that’s the power of social media.

But the attitude shift remains incomplete. If social media is to evolve as the complete marketing and branding space, we must feed all kinds of reviews to the world. As of now it has become the place for companies to promote and customers to complaint. The wider meaning of customer engagement must germinate through these social media platforms. People on their part, must come up with all forms of review. Express your opinions and reviews- bad as well as GOOD! Make the most out of the ‘Like’ and ‘promote’ options if you liked something. It is only then that we realise the true power of social media. Otherwise it would end up as just another vestige once some other new marketing tool is introduced and companies shift their focus to that.

Companies and brands on their part must exploit the opportunities presented by social media to the maximum. They can interact with their existing and prospective customers on a one to one basis through these mediums, and what better way to make each one of them feel important? A customer who feels respected and taken care of, is definitely a success story for your brand loyalty building exercise. She is a promoter of your products through her channel of social networks, and in this new age there is nothing more dependable than network marketing!

Borrowing Victor Hugo’s words- ‘No one can stop an idea whose time has come’ there is no doubt that social media engagement is that new idea for businesses to thrive, and both brands as well as customers have a role to play in shaping it. The process has begun, but still incomplete and awaiting participation…

One thought on “An Incomplete Attitude Shift

  1. >I totally agree with your perspective on How Social media changed customer relationships.I had a similar experience with Airtel

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