Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Agony Aunt 2.0

The WWW has been around for a while, and has grown to become our pillar of support of sorts. Our best friend (as corny as it may sound) to be precise. Its incredible how one can turn to the net to complain, to whine, to celebrate, to connect, to reach out and to make a difference. And, in return, the internet has shown its relentless support by listening. Sadly marketers haven't explored its potential, they haven't been able to put their finger on the thump that is getting stronger and louder.

True the internet has propelled a whole lot of things, but it has also been a favourite medium for grouse. I did a rather juvenile search ‘hathway sucks’ (now that would clearly spell out my intentions). There were some 100 odd groups bitching about the service provider, while I was contemplating which one to join I searched for many other such angst portals. There are like a zillion of ‘this is terrible’, ‘that is horrid’ websites. However, there is not a single platform trying to play aunt agony. There are too many conversations but no one listening.

Today almost any service provider promises a great customer experience that is for keeps. I often wonder if ‘customer delight’ is their chosen pursuit or is it just a sexy term straight out of a management textbook. There is hardly any delight in dealing with the customer care officers, for starters they rarely ever get on the phone, which is extremely frustrating (especially if you have to lend a ear to the tireless electronic voice). And when they do get on the phone they are rude and insensitive.

Blogs, social media and communities are mushrooming all over the internet and consumers are splashing the pages with their angst. It has become critical for corporates to hear what is being said about them more than just pretty PR articles. I chanced upon a BusinessWeek article that made me write this blog and conduct many childish searches. A brand like DELL truly found itself by listening to blogs. The ROI of blogs and social media has been proved without a doubt, atleast in my head. All corporates need to do is put a little money and ear on the thump to plug the hole.

7 comments:

Ananda Niyogi said...

Came across your link in David's blog..

This was an interesting read. Online forums/blogs no doubt can prove to be useful forums, but any powerful tool needs to be used with common sense and responsibility. If we look for example at the Discussion Forums in web portals/social networking sites, we will find that most of them are marred by propaganda and mud slinging matches. I guess it will take some time for our collective maturity to evolve.

Dhivya said...

@ Anand

Hey I completely second that. amidst all the marred propaganda..there is an honest voice shouting to be heard...

viggy said...

Agreed, you are dead right on this one..As the PC and internet penentration goes up in India, you'll definitely see more companies responding to web 2.0 faster and better..HP is focusing all its efforts in this direction now and its seems like a very thought through move..But I feel the key is for the goverment to reduce tariff structure for PCs and laptops to get cheaper and bridge the digital divide so that this process is accelerated.

viggy said...

Agreed, you are dead right on this one..As the PC and internet penentration goes up in India, you'll definitely see more companies responding to web 2.0 faster and better..HP is focusing all its efforts in this direction now and its seems like a very thought through move..But I feel the key is for the goverment to reduce tariff structure for PCs and laptops to get cheaper and bridge the digital divide so that this process is accelerated.

Vicky said...

A post from you after a very very long time. Refreshing. :)

xeonX said...

You're back..I thought the Great Indian brat had you for a while :)

Nice post.. But one itsy bitsy thought. Doesn't it also depend a great deal on what's your products target market before you dive into extensive research of this sort..and also too a great deal on the age and nature of the market..I wouldn't see distressed aunties bash it out on the internet on why they hate surf excel!

Dhivya said...

@ Vicky

thanks...it good to be back

@ Xenox

Point taken..maybe what i should have mentioned is a service provider, telecom company, companies that make mobile phones, camera, printers, etc. who have a more web savvy consumer could have a blog... yeah i don't see the point in a tea brand being present