The last week, I encountered a few ‘brand response scenarios’ – two of them in which I was directly involved, and one where I was just an onlooker. Since this is an area where I also spend considerable time, as part of my job, I thought I’d share some perspectives too.
The first one involved a hotel booking. After reading excellent reviews on TripAdvisor and skimming through a well made website, I decided to send them a mail. For 2 days I received no response. I noticed that they were on twitter, and send them an @ message. No response from there too, though they continued to update with promos and news shares. In the meanwhile, I also sent a mail to an alternative id given on the site. After more than a week, I got a response, by which time, I had already booked another place, which responded in less than 24 hours. A deal of about Rs.25000.
We bought a new television from a retail chain after seeing an offer in the newspaper. As the regular story goes, they delayed (from their committed time) by more than 48 hours and (uncharacteristically and quite reluctantly) I made a huge scene at their outlet. In the meanwhile, I also posted on their FB wall (as a response to the image of the ad which had lured me) and sent them an @message on Twitter. The FB response took more than 48 hours and asked me to send a mail to a certain id. The product had been delivered by then, and I told them that. The next day, a tweet response followed, asking me what the problem was. No deal lost, but no love lost either.
In ‘Who Cares?‘, Godin talks about exactly these kind of scenarios, and from there I quote, “Caring, it turns out, is a competitive advantage, and one that takes effort, not money.” The third scenario is an excellent example of this at work.
Much has been written about it already, so you can read the posts, linked to below, to understand what the Cleartrip Hurry Algorithm ‘controversy’ was all about. This isn’t the first time I have regarded Cleartrip’s approach with admiration, and for good reason. This time, not only did they thank @jackerhack who pointed them to a blog post that trashed the new initiative, they also responded to that post and wrote a post of their own clarifying what they were trying to do, not just on the post itself, but also in the comments section where many people raised questions. Cleartrip has set such high benchmarks in this regard that all of the above are now standard fare expected from them, and I probably wouldn’t have written a post. But once again, they went further. A week after this incident, a new post announced a redesigned feature that not only solved the problem the users had with it, but made it even better with more information. The result? An update on the very post that had complained in the first place. #win
Cleartrip was listening, but then so are a lot of other companies. The difference here is caring enough to respond (externally) and creating an organisational will (internally) that works on a user problem and solves it. Not one time, but as a process.
until next time, know response…