Brand-Bashing on the Social Media; Is anyone listening?admin
Having closely worked with consumer brands, a fact that has consistently emerged is that not more than 30% of customers identify themselves with seller brands post purchase of goods. Either assisted or voluntarily, 3 out 10 customers get registered with brands. The worst part is that after the warranty period, most of these users become invisible. Their present whereabouts and contact details with brands go out of sync. Ironically, such high value brands and makers of household machines lose visibility of their customers over time. While they are expected to educate customers with regards to self-care tips and similar aspects, they end up losing contact with their customers.
In this disconnected environment, the least one can expect is a smooth relationship. It’s no surprise, relationship remains transactional primarily as breakdown support call or opportunistic offer. This is bound to lead to friction and frustrations.
Although there is a lot of scope for improvement, the simplest of all steps could be to register the product with brand and letting them do the rest. Unfortunately, registration figures are dismally low. Let me also say, this is not the prime reason for poor consumer experience however low customer identification does indicate lack of pro-activeness on part of customers as well as brands.
Low registration is not the root cause. Very often customer’s brand image fade even before the product installation leading to frictional relationship. This is an indication of deeper systematic issues; no registration only elevates the problem.
Typically, friction between the seller and the buyer starts building up when there is a breakdown of the product being used. The cold response of the customer care unit and delayed support makes the whole experience quite frustrating. Escalations, repeated calling and company bashing becomes common and eventually some go on to social media with an outburst. Those who go through such experience will end up with bitter feelings. All those concerned or not, read the story, comment, adds his own few texts which makes an interesting read for everyone.
We often dissect and deep dive into such fire and invariably come out with at least one common question; who is getting benefitted after all? Has it reached to the person? Did brand folks learn of their customer’s experience, what were the lessons learnt?
While interacting with senior representatives of brand, the social media issues came up several times. As anticipated, people are concerned. It is felt that If the right people are approached in time then such things will not occur. The volumes are simply too high in a market like ours. Effective use of technology supported by gentle human interaction is a robust solution for the holistic transformation and for the benefit of all. Organizations have started to adopt a long term engagement approach over a transactional one. They are going through a major transformation on the customer relation front. Social media exchange will continue to be a useful medium particularly if it happens on the common platform of the seller and buyer.
Consumers identifying themselves by registering their products will help the transformation immensely. This would enable Brands to build system to provide timely and delightful support to their customers by engaging personally.