[Updated: We received a quote from Micromax as well as the aggrieved customer]
With the advent of Social Media, consumers are now more connected as they have an easy access to information. A disgruntled customer will hold a social media gun right onto your head.
The battle ground is now leveled and consumers have all the power to shape your brand and bend it right.
Take a look at this example. Micromax, an Indian consumer electronics manufacturer has a lot of dissatisfied customers. It has to do a lot of catching up in order to beef up its online as well as offline customer service.
Bad customer experience can go viral and it can become a PR disaster in a matter of few hours
It is evident that Micromax fails to respond to online complaints and customer grievances on time.
There is growing competition, and a huge shift in power. The customer is taking command. But you can neither afford to ignore them, nor can you go against them. Instead take the social route for the benefit of all!
Consequently, an angry customer has made an unofficial Facebook page against Micromax. To make it worst, the page already has 123 likes.
However, there has been no response from the brand whatsoever.
We are trying to reach out to Micromax and the dissatisfied owner of the unofficial page to listen their side of the story.
The disgruntled customer shared his side of the story. Here is what he said:
“My Micromax Facebook Story – started on Feb 5, 2013 – two weeks after I had given the phone to the service centre. Frustrated by the fact that I am receiving no response – after sending emails and phone calls to the service centre, I launched my campaign for justice.
I wrote complaint letters on review sites like mouthshut.com and other sites. I kept posting on Micromax-nothinglike anything, the page I created and invited people to like it and share it. I posted on linked-in and twitter to keep promoting the site and keep people engaged. I put updates on the page on a regular basis. At one point in time there were 14000 people viewing the page.
I also contacted Vikas jain (founder of Micromax ) through Linked In and told him. The turning point came when Ankit vengurlekar, tech guru, CNBC, who is a friend also posted on his page. That created a ripple effect. Suddenly people who I never knew kept liking the page. I kept up the pressure and posted on the Micromax official page. I had to post repeatedly on their page to get their attention.
I kept forwarding mails to the head of PR of Micromax to get his attention. Then suddenly, I started getting calls from Micromax telling me that my phone was ready. I went and collected it. I kept up the fight for a refund.”
However, he finally received his refund. But it is interesting to note that Social Media was the last thing he resorted to and the issue was finally solved through Social Media. Kudos to the Social Media team who intervened and tried to resolve the matter!
This proves, that Social Media has certainly given power to the consumer.
Here is a quote from the Micromax Spokesperson:
“At Micromax, we consistently strive to provide our customers with the best product and service experience. Our customers are our top most priority, and their feedback is taken very seriously and is extremely valuable to us. We address any concerns raised by them at all times to take all the necessary actions.
We have a dedicated customer care team which takes care of all queries, concerns and feedback. 75% of the calls get answered the same day or within 24 hours; about 90% of the queries get closed between 72 to 96 hours; the rest 10% of the queries are closed within a five day window. All our service centres are automated and we ensure that we live up to our customer’s expectations.
We regret this one off case/instance which we have now duly resolved. It is our constant endeavour to further enhance our customer care network and bolster outreach, we will continue to fuel efforts to ensure a seamless experience to our users.”
How can you as a brand tackle this situation?
1. Adopt Social CRM
Customers will certainly turn to social media when they are disappointed by other channels like call centres, service centres and email. Social is convenient for them. Integrate social media channel within your existing CRM processes. Embrace these complaints in a social way, regardless of channel.
2. Timely response:
Social media is meant for real time. An immediate response is more important than an effective response. Things could go wrong faster than you imagine.
This page was created on 12th February, 2013. It’s been more 15 days, I still cannot see any response from the brand on the page.
3. Monitor and listen to people:
Conversations multiply. Monitor all these conversations and analyse what doesn’t work for your brand. Aggregate the points of commonality and find a solution.
If Micromax has set up a monitoring system, then it should have known by now about the Facebook page. It could have acted speedily.
4. Social media spokesperson:
Brands should define an authorized person to engage on behalf of the brand on Social Media. There should have been someone to respond on the page representing the brand. Had it been handled well, it would have served as an opportunity to steer perception.
Brands must make sure that they have a social media plan of action, policies and special training initiatives for employees. Have an integrated social approach across all your channels.
It is surprising, how a globally successful brand like Starbucks too decided to play a waiting game in this case.
— Armaan Kapur (@armaankapur) February 12, 2013
The post with more than 5,000 likes and about 300 comments had been mysteriously deleted from the page. Although Starbucks claims that it has not deleted his post, it neither responded to it publicly, nor it was timely in reaching out to its customer.
Gone are the days of controlling your own brand. You cannot dictate what goes on your social media page. Consumers now have a voice; don’t ever try to gag them. Instead try to reach out to them and sort it out.
If you don’t let them talk to you then they will certainly go out and talk about you. If you talk to them then that might outweigh the negatives.