Tag Archives: Social media

Dear Airtel: It is about Customers & Conversations

It was one of those evenings, when we were not in a mood to work. The day had already gone by and the office was half-empty. Thinking what to do, we thought of decorating our office with some quotes. Quotations which were inspirational and motivational.

Amongst the many quotes that we did stick on our workstations, one of them was really inspiringly. It was the one by ‘Steve Jobs’ and it was simple yet very effective.

If a user is having a problem, it’s our problem.

Reading this quote and thinking about it from a service provider’s role, I tried to re-collect incidents where we actually could have been better. Scenarios, where we thought that we had solved a problem, but the customer differed.

The flow of thoughts continued till I switched role/s and stepped into the shoes of a customer.

“When was the last time I faced a problem? Am I facing any problem right now?” I asked myself.

I hadn’t event finished the above question and I quickly recalled the argument that I had with the customer service executive of our internet service provider. Barely a month ago we had taken a new internet connection from Airtel. The traffic demand in our office was quite heavy and to do a load-balancing we had made a request for another pipe to ‘Airtel’.

We were bombarded with different calls from the sales-executives of ‘Airtel’ and all of them were requesting that elusive appointment which would have helped them to convert a lead into actionable sale. In the beginning when got these calls, we thought there could be some mis-understanding. But when, the calls didn’t fail to stop, we realized that it is more than just mis-understanding. It is a fundamental Sales-Process problem, where executives are more focussed towards achieving their sales targets. Whether that also means using other executive’s database is a different story all-together.

Our misery didn’t end here as post installation, we faced common problems of poor internet speed. The worst was yet to come. On a bright sunny afternoon, I got a call from their executive who said, “Is this ABC Consulting?”. Realizing that she had dialled a wrong destination I told her about the same. However, to my surprise I realized that the details of the connection and telephone that were allocated to us were exactly the same.

On digging deeper, we found out the crux of the problem. We were allocated a connection which was already being used by another brand. Whether the company was still using it or not we were not aware of it. However, one thing was for sure we were let down. We were let down badly by a brand for whom we had high regard and trust.

But now everything was broken.

It was not that we hadn’t faced problems in the past with Airtel. It was just that we were aware of their strong support service. We knew that somebody would fix the issue within the blink of an eyelid.

We called up their support executives who promised a quick resolution only to never return. We kept on building a pile of different ticket numbers for the same problems. Realizing the problem, we explored the army of social media tools. The first and the last of them being “Twitter”.

The conversation began with my first tweet.

I then searched for ‘Airtel’ and came across three ids.


In the meantime some well-wishers and some one from ‘Airtel’ had also replied.

I thought a brand like ‘Airtel’ would understand the essence and meaning of Social Media. But through their tweet, they were simply directing me to another email id. I wasn’t so sure as to why they were using ‘Social Media’. If directing users to another email id is the job why didn’t they simply create a twitter profile with one big message which states the email address.

My suspicion was confirmed by their twitter profile

They had event posted a tweet for Blackberry India. Again it was the same message !!

@BB_in Need help with Airtel, write to us at airtelpresence@airtel.in, also follow us for more updates on Airtel, thx

Off-course Blackberry India, never had a problem with Airtel. It was just that they had mentioned ‘Airtel’ in one their tweets. This poor automated program, picked the keyword ‘Airtel’ and was posting the same old message for everyone. It wasn’t human for sure, it was ‘Automated’ and was understandably defeating the whole purpose of conversations through Social Media.

Dear Airtel – Do you know why using are using twitter? Do you know what is ‘Social Media’? Do you know how you can solve the problems of your customers? Above all, do you know what is ‘Customer Service’?

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Filed under Customer, customer service

Preventing Social Media Spam

Twitter Meta Moo! too far?
Image by Josh Russell via Flickr

Sometimes it feels really sorry to see the tactics of a select group of folks in the name of using Social media as a Conversation Medium ! By-and-large this is applicable to Twitter baring the first couple of points.

The Problem

  1. Email spam: They  continue to send you bulk promotional emails, although you never opted-in for their newsletter. On the name of customization, they start the email with your name prefix and believe they are not spamming your email box.  To your surprise, you are not allowed to copy & reproduce their email although they didn’t take your permission at the first place.
  2. Blog Spameeters: They start a one-dimensional blog to blatantly promote the poor client’s new product offerings.
  3. RTing & RTing: They create multiple accounts on twitter, send tweet from one id and then re-tweet from others. End-result = The user ends up thinking that there is a great conversation going on.
  4. Follow mania: They follow all the celebrities and all those who have more than 1000 followers in a hope to attract some eyeballs.
  5. Twomit dosage: While it is the lifeline of many, they continue to talk about the color of their underwear on twitter. Eating food, walking dog, brushing their teeth. It’s a moral obligation.They all know twitter has a threshold when it comes to maximum requests at an instance and maximum no. of tweets. However, they never refrain to curse twitter every time it suffers from an outage. Continue reading

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Filed under Social media, Social Media Conversation, Web 2.0

Enterprise 2.0 Conversations

Enterprise 2.0 - Platforms View
Image by cambodia4kidsorg via Flickr

Over the course of December, I have been closely following Jacob Morgan‘s blog-posts on Social Media, emerging Enterprise 2.0 trends and the variety of issues companies face during adoption. He has been having a series of exciting conversations with industry veteran Wendy Troupe and some of the points discussed are absolutely amazing !

While I would highly recommend all the ‘5’ posts, here are some interesting pieces that I really like:

  1. “If there is no “R”, then the “I” becomes a “C” and that cost is always going to be too high.”  I think ROI should always be a consideration but I don’t think it should be the only consideration. [In a presentation by Aaron Julius Kim about ROI]. Continue reading

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Filed under Web 2.0

Criticising Social Media ?

Criticizing social media?

Are you doing so for any of the following reasons:

  • Because you think this is a buzzword which will eventually die-down
  • Because your mind tells tells you that there’s nothing to social media beyond twitter, blogs and Facebook
  • Because every second person you have seen on twitter claims to be a social media evangelist or a catalyst
  • Because you do not seem to understand the differences and similarities between digital media and social media
SocialMedia
Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr
  • Because you are fed up of blog-posts talking about socialmedia ROI & budgets and don’t understand what is the ROI
  • Because you see brands jumping on social media bandwagon and you fail to understand what they’re gaining out of it
  • Because you witness endless talks about conversations, communities, content
  • Because you are trying to understand the meaning of terms of ‘social’ and ‘media’ and combined together
  • Because you discuss your problems with consultants and every time you talk to them there’s more confusion than ever before

Rather not do it as it is more a perception issue than anything else !!  Understand  Social Media as a Philosophy and its application as a Culture.

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Filed under Social media

Indians in Social Media (2009)

By-and-large most of us would agree with that  Social media is still in a nascent stage in the Indian context and there is a lot that remains to be explored in the Social media space.

Having said that the ripples in the social media wave created by many Indians involved are ensuring that Social Media is taken to the next level.

Note: For (businesses [small or large] or individual/s) who are trying to understand the online medium and how they can use it.  You should definitely follow these guys, not because some of them qualify as so-called thought leaders, but since they’re early-starters, they might have a degree of influence on your mind with their observations. Continue reading

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Filed under Social media, Social Media Conversation, social media india, Web 2.0

Social Media Conversation series (Talk with Peter Bihr)

Background: This is the third blogpost in a series of conversations with Social Media change agents, thought-leaders, experts and mavens to answer some of the most important questions surrounding the subjects of Social media and Web2.0 ! The emphasis of this discussion series is to address ‘socialmedia’ at a ground level and talk about the real world issues that are being faced by us on both sides of the road: i.e. as actual users and as consultants/agencies in this space. Continue reading

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Filed under Social Media Conversation, Web 2.0

Social Media Conversation series (Talk with Anna Farmery)

Background: This is the second blog-post in a series of conversations with Social Media change agents, Social media thought-leaders, experts and mavens to answer some of the most important questions surrounding the subjects of Social media and Web2.0 ! The emphasis of this discussion series is to address ’socialmedia’ at a ground level and talk about the real world issues that are being faced by us on both sides of the road: i.e. as actual users and as consultants/agencies in this space.

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anna farmery_croppedAfter the engaging conversation with Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D, I am proud to have with me, widely read and heard social media and branding trainer, Anna Farmery.

At a personal level, I am a great fan of Anna’s  The Engaging Brand podcast series  which has been nominated for two years as the Best Business podcast. In addition, she consistently speaks and delivers workshops on branding, motivation and social media. You can read Anna’s blog or listen to her free weekly audio show at http://www.theengagingbrand.com Continue reading

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Filed under Social media, Web 2.0