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  • http://twitter.com/anandan22 Anandan Pillai

    The trade-off between responsiveness and consistency is a key factor in managing the brand community. Glad to see you cover most of the important points to be kept in mind. How about having multiple (not many, but may be 2-3) but dedicated community managers for different time period of a day. By doing this brand can ensure real-time response and sustain it over long time.

    • http://itwofs.com/beastoftraal/ Karthik Srinivasan

      Absolutely! That’s one of the tactics when setting a process to handle real-time responses!

  • http://twitter.com/rradhika radhikaradhakrishnan

    Your words are so true. “social media is not like that phone ringing in your organization. Social media is more like a million phones ringing at the same time within your organization – that is the big difference”. Well said and this makes a huge difference on how we perceive Social Media. Learnt something today!

  • http://twitter.com/RustyCawley Rusty Cawley, APR

    Disagree strongly on your recommendation to address the problem, not the sentiment. In risk communication, we phrase this as addressing the hazard without addressing the outrage. You must address both, and as quickly as possible. Most of the time, if customers know you are working on their problem, they will show patience. But if they believe you are ignoring them, watch out. Real-time response is an expensive proposition. But you are doing your clients a major disservice if you counsel them to ignore their customers until they have the solution in hand.

    • http://itwofs.com/beastoftraal/ Karthik Srinivasan

      Rusty, I’d like to clarify/disagree on your comment.

      On sentiment vs. problem – I was referring to opinions. If a person has a poor opinion about your product or service and bothers enough to talk about it in an open forum, owned by you or others, it is his choice. As a brand, we could address the root cause of that opinion. But if it’s a flat out opinion (‘I think your product sucks’), that is a sentiment I’d most definitely recommend a client to take a look at and get over it. Assume you start pandering to such opinions that do not have any base for resolution, I’m sure it would eventually be used as a weapon, if the brand is really that bad. This is a question of prioritization, from a time investment point of view.

      Addressing both happens when an opinion is posted with some meaning. I cannot agree enough on that, of course.

      My point is not to give an image of ignoring online comments, not through minute by minute responses (placeholder responses), but by living the service motto, over a period of time. That way, other customers who have gained from the brand’s response will join in to support the brand and vouch for it’s service. We have seen this happen to many clients.

      Yes, real-time service is an expensive proposition. And if a client is unwilling to support that financially, we need to look for alternate options. In case where we, as an agency, don’t have the bandwidth to offer them real-time service, or they, as a client, don’t have the wherewithal to make it happen, then we, together, have to find a solution. That solution is not to let that momentary issue bother our entry into social media. Not every client is a MNC Fortune 500 – there are some who want to go online and try their hand. In those cases, we recommend that they hold their head high with dignity and service within the levels that is humanly possible for them. They were doing it earlier via phone and email, and now would do it via social tools.

      The point is – if real-time is not possible, don’t let that stop you. Brands can set the tone with regard to response times – what matters is the quality of resolution. But if a brand is able to add real-time to that equation, nothing like it – I’ve said that in my post too. That’s the holy grail – all I’m saying is to not let the quest for holy grail stop you trying to lead a life.

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