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Cleartrip resolution of a neo-influencer complaint is a case-study

I cringe every time I read the words #FAIL , #boo or thus like on Twitter, from users who might just have given a cursory glance to a tool or barely used a service.
This is someone’s brand we are referring to, a brand that’s dear to someone; a service in whose creation someone has put a lot of time, effort and money. How easy it is for us, to sit at a distance and boo, setting someone up for failure, without sometimes giving the other party time/ opportunity to make amends on genuine gaps.
I find that on one side social media gives opportunity consumers to transparently share feedback, on the other, our usage of it is often knee-jerk and may I dare say, even juvenile.
Here, however, is a case of genuine customer agony upon discovering at the airport that your ticket for overseas travel; for which you paid in advance; is void. You end up buying another ticket to make it to your destination. This is what happened to my friend, and power blogger, Kiruba. The culprit – Cleartrip.com
I have often said to marketers attending my talks, workshops that how a marketer responds to negative feedback is the key to success with social media. Going on the defensive is not going to help. A mistake has been made – own up; mistakes do happen, and the moment you acknowledge and convey that to the customer, half the battle is already won.
‘Resolution’ is the only apology acceptable, not a verbal apology that everyone seems to offer. Now go on, top it with something that says ‘We care’ and you can expect forgiveness, even make friends.
Cleartrip shares how they resolved the complaint in this transparent post – transparency has become their hallmark, besides a clear, purposeful interface on the site.
Cleatrip, is rightly disappointed that not as many people shared the positive resolution, as the ones who contributed to the initial negative burst. Well, you have earned some more trust and customers in the process is all I could say to them. I have been buying regularly from Cleartrip and would not just continue but likely recommend them to more people after this episode.
Thanks Manpreet for sharing the case-study post with me.
UPDATE – 16 June, 2009 at 3.42 pm – Kiruba gives his side of the story on this blog update (2nd part of the story still pending)
UPDATE – 26 June, 2009 at 4.25 pm – Kiruba put up part 2 of his story a couple of days ago. Here it is now.

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Dealing with a slowdown in bytes

I have been a client earlier and an agency too. At this moment, interestingly enough, with Blogworks and Pitchh.com we are both an agency and a client respectively.
This week brought some interesting perspectives.

  • As an agency you seek committed relationships, as a client you want to pay for performance and that alone. Retainers/ CPM pricing versus Project Fees/ CPL or Cost Per Conversion.
  • As we move into the new financial year, it might be useful to take learnings from consumer marketing. For example the creation of shampoo sachets allowed many more users to enter the category, many who previously purchased bottles also found it easier on the pocket to buy them.
    Byte sized packages, with set timelines and measurable returns would be a good way forward to gain business. Of course more effort will go in, but who knows customers might, in fact, end up buying more sachets.

What do you think?

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Exchange4Media and Blogworks.in present "India Social Media Survey, Brands and Corporates" Edition 1, December 2008

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It was nearly two years ago that I first thought about seeding a benchmark survey that captured Blogging & Social Media trends & insights gathered from marketers and corporates. However, there was little action on the ground at that time, but social media has now gained sufficient traction, and we may have perhaps contributed in our small way.
Also, a few months ago, we conducted this qualitative study attempting to capture an overview of the blogs & social media environment in India. The insights were invaluable and we knew then it was time to do a deep dive and a conduct a larger survey amongst marketers & corporates.
So, here we are, along with Exchange4Media Group hoping to put together an insightful study based on ‘real inputs’ shared by you & your peers and not speculative theories. This will allow the industry to benefit from shared insights & make for educated decisions.
We need your participation:

  1. You can take the survey here- open until 24 December 2008 but don’t wait until the last day.

All valid participants get a FREE copy of Summary & Key Points from the “Overview of Blog & Social Media Environment in India”, a report prepared by Blogworks – this will be emailed to you. For it to be a valid entry, you must answer all questions.
Once you have completed your entry, do share your feedback on the questionnaire by writing to survey@blogworks.in.There would be mistakes to learn from & things to do better the next time -we’d appreciate you sharing your thoughts.
Media Partners for the initiative: Impact, Pitch and Exchange4Media.com
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Why it's a good idea to blog on YOUR domain, not so good to go free.

Many prospects, and clients, we interact with, talk about starting their blog on a free blog site, such as Blogger.com etc.
That’s a bad-bad way to start your blog/ social media journey, we tell them. Show the tool the reverence it deserves – don’t treat it casually – we tell them. All blogs are not equal, we tell them – what works for a casual, individual blogger, doesn’t work for an organization/ brand.
If you still do go ahead with a free blog and then fail to get results you were seeking, don’t blame the tool, blame yourself, we tell them.
So, why do we need to move these conversations to our domain? Here are just a few reasons:

  1. Our domain is OUR home, it gives us the control on what we want to do; on customization of features, look-feel; on branding.
  2. We get access to powerful analytics that tell us much about:
    – Where are users coming from.
    – What is bringing them there.
    – What are they doing on the site.
    – Where are the gaps that need to be bridged.
    – Much, much more.
  3. We own the content on the site, no fear of – being deleted, of the site going down because of a ban, of rules changing mid-way.
  4. A single place for stakeholders to engage with us, share feedback, find answers –ensures continuity. Though, if we are a brand, then we’d be creating a dozen other touch points too and yet it helps to have one place that’s our own and aggregates/ links everything.
  5. Since people get an opportunity to reach the brand directly, they can transparently share any grouse/ feedback with the team – chances are that they won’t vent any negative feelings on consumer feedback sites instead – showcases transparency, consumer orientation, saves time and effort sorting issues on third party platforms.
  6. MOST IMPORTANTLY – as the Internet gains strategic significance and search becomes the new clipping, and with increasing impact of social media on purchase decisions, it is imperative that we participate in these conversations and build communities.
  7. layers of influence - blogworks.jpg

  8. Blogs (loosely used for sake of convenience, but will include tools like wikis, forums, etc. based on need) are the best search engine optimization tool – as most recent, most relevant content gets picked by search engines first.

Don’t be hasty in starting a blog, think through the process as I don’t tire explaining.

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