UPDATE: A Response From Path

Since my last blog post about Path, I received an email back from them. They took a while to respond to me which was frustrating, but their response was very pleasant. They apologized for their delayed response and cleared my information from their servers. Even though they were deceptive in their terms of service, they owned up to their unlawful behavior and were apologetic. “The way we had designed our ‘Add Friends’ feature was wrong.” I though that was very big on their part and makes me feel a little better about the situation.

This is a great CRM situation to learn from. TAKE NOTE!

 

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Did I Ever Agree To That?

Recently, a developer named Arun Thampi discovered that the iPhone application “Path” had been uploading all of his address book contacts to it’s servers without his consent or knowledge. Once his discovery spread like wildfire across the media, co-founder and CEO Dave Morin quickly responded with a comment on Thampi’s site:

“Arun, thanks for pointing this out. We actually think this is an important conversation and take this very seriously. We upload the address book to our servers in order to help the user find and connect to their friends and family on Path quickly and efficiently as well as to notify them when friends and family join Path. Nothing more.”

“We believe that this type of friend finding & matching is important to the industry and that it is important that users clearly understand it, so we proactively rolled out an opt-in for this on our Android client a few weeks ago and are rolling out the opt-in for this in 2.0.6 of our iOS Client, pending App Store approval.”

I personally think this is a lame excuse for their actions and doesn’t excuse them from what they did.

It was later discovered that once they had your information, they sold it to other company servers (if you are getting spam, now you know why). Apple’s iOS App Guidelines policy “requires all apps to get a user’s permission before ‘transmitting data about a user.'” How Path was able to get around that is still a mystery, but somehow it happened. As a result of Path’s actions not only are they themselves facing a PR and CRM nightmare, but Apple as well. In order to “fix” the issue,”Path” plans on releasing another version of their software that will ask users if they want to opt in or out of sharing their information. Keep in mind that just because they ask you if you would prefer to opt out, doesn’t mean they won’t take your information anyways!  It is important that a company remains transparent and upfront with their customers.  We all know no one reads those lengthy EULA’s, so I feel a company should always bring attention to the fact that they are using personal information, even if they need to restate it outside of the EULA. ”

I myself had “Path” on my iPhone but once I found out about their shady behavior I deleted it and wrote them an email. Granted I didn’t use the app all that much, but they had my information regardless. In the email I told them to delete all the personal information they had taken from me off their servers and the servers belonging to the companies they sold it to. I ended the email asking them to respond to me once they had done what I asked as a form of confirmation. As an ex “Path” customer and a human being, I feel that I have the right to ask this from them and for them to follow through with it. What they did was not right and violated my privacy. To all those who have used “Path”, I suggest you ask them to do the same. It will be interesting to see how many other apps will be brought into the light as a result of the same issue.

Linky Love #2: Carnival Cruise Line’s CRM Failure

It is said to be one of the high-profiled incidents since the Titanic sank 100 years ago. On January 13, 2012 the Costa Concordia, a cruiser owned by Carnival, struck a rock and sank off the island of Giglio. 17 passengers died and 15 are still missing after the fatal accident. Normally, you would think that the company responsible would do everything in their power to make up for what happened. Unfortunately, that is not the case in this situation.

Carnival has denied any reports that it would offer 30% off future cruises to families who have been affected by the tragedy. Instead, they are offering $14,500 each in compensation plus the cost of travel and a refund for the cruise. I agree with FOX Business when they said, “…its failure to douse rumors before they spread like wildfire didn’t help its PR battle.” By not being able to counter rumors before they spread, only made Carnival look worse in the eyes of the public by not promising them something they believed to be true. As if the company’s CRM behavior couldn’t get worse, CEO Micky Arison has only made a few appearances concerning this matter via Twitter and a short statement on the matter. He has chosen to let Concordia operator Costa Cruises and their lesser-known Italian subsidiary handle the situation instead. Observers are complaining over the fact that Carnival has not taken an active crisis management role. Their lack of communication is leaving observers worried and angered! In addition, Arison’s actions don’t reassure any of Carnival’s customers that they are trustworthy or reliable company. It’s your company; you have to deal with it!  If I were Arison, I would think twice before I make my next move.

Linky Love #1: Optimizing Your Social Media Schedule

This is my first “Linky Love” post. Linky Love posts are weekly responses to a blog post of my choice from a list provided my professor Kelli Matthews.

In my last post, “Poor sCRM At It’s Finest” I gave an example of what happens when one is not a responsible social media user. Have no fear though, Ashley Zeckman, a blogger for Top Rank has provided 4 tips for avoiding the social media time suck. These tips are meant to help you stay on track, and I think they are pretty good. Have a listen…

According to a study by eMarketer, 73% of marketers say that finding time to create social media content is their greatest marketing challenge.

Ashley’s first tip, “avoiding shiny object pitfalls”. We all know how easy it is to get distracted, especially when we are doing something we don’t really want to do. In order to avoid temptation, prioritize your week ahead of time so you have that time designated time everyday to work on social media. While you may find this to be tedious, I’m almost positive you will be happy you did it in the long run!

Ashley’s second tip, “optimize for productivity”. Determine what time of day you are most productive and what activities will take the most time. By doing this you will hopefully be able to organize your time more effectively. To give you a kick in the right direction, Ashley has provided some social media tips that will help you with your social media optimization and time management.

Twitter:

  • 5pm – best time to Tweet for re-tweets
  • 1-4 per hour – most effective frequency of Tweets
  • Midweek & Weekends – best days to Tweet
  • Noon & 6pm – best time to Tweet for increase Click Through Rates

Facebook:

  • Saturday- best day to share on Facebook
  • Noon- most effective time to share on Facebook
  • .5 per day – best sharing frequency

Ashley’s third tip, “tips for optimized focus”. We must eliminate distractions so we can focus on the task at hand, such as social media! Here are some of the things she does to stay on track that you can use and adapt into your daily schedule.

  • Closing my email when I’m working on social media tasks
  • Close all Internet windows and tabs except for the one I need to work on
  • Disabling chat or closing chat windows to avoid distraction
  • Pick 15 minutes a day to indulge in activities such as checking personal social media profiles, responding to texts, or chatting with friends.
  • Spend 30 minutes to an hour each morning reviewing emails and responding, do the same thing before leaving at the end of the day.
  • It is significantly easier to stick to your schedule if you are working ONLY on the tasks you have scheduled in the time allotted.

Her last tip, “tools for optimizing time” lists various sites that can make your social media tasks simpler yet more effective. She has provided a list of sites to choose from depending on what your trying to do. I have taken it upon myself to pick my favorites as a second opinion. As far as curation tools, I would recommend, Pearltrees. It’s easy to use and makes sharing easy. If you are looking to organize and better manage your social media, TweetDeck is the best tool for that. It neatly organizes your Twitter feeds into columns that are easy to read and search. Lastly, if you are interested in social bookmarking tools, I recommend Delicious. It’s has a user friendly interface that makes social bookmarking and sharing a breeze.

I hope these tips help you become a social media rock star!

Poor sCRM At It’s Finest!

If you are not on top of your sCRM game, it can bite you in the ass. No one knows that better than British Petroleum, a.k.a BP. BP had to deal with an sCRM nightmare after their oil spill in the Gulf Coast. Back then, before the spill, BP was not very active on their Twitter account and sCRM was not a priority of theirs. After the spill, you can bet Twitter was buzzing with the breaking news but BP was no where to be found among the buzz! During their time of silence a fake Twitter account was created called @BPGlobalPR by a man who goes by “Leroy Stick”. It is believed that this is not his real name but he did reveal his motives as to why he created the account.

“I started @BPGlobalPR, because the oil spill had been going on for almost a month and all BP had to offer were bullshit PR statements. No solutions, no urgency, no sincerity, no nothing. That’s why I decided to relate to the public for them. I started off just making jokes at their expense with a few friends, but now it has turned into something of a movement.”

From this account, a swarm of tweets mocking BP’s situation in the Gulf were sent out saying such things as; “You know what they say about the ocean…Once it goes black it never goes back!”, or “Now, all tuna from the Gulf Coast comes pre-packaged in oil.” While I admit these are quite funny, the unfortunate reality was that people  believed that the the account was associated with BP. Needless to say these tweets spread like wildfire and BP’s online presence took a major blow.

When BP finally got on Twitter and saw what was going on, it was too late to save themselves. The damage was already done and they looked foolish. It’s embarrassing that a company so large and powerful was torn down by one tweeter and all BP had to do was just glance at Twitter to see what mayhem was going on! This is definitely poor sCRM at it’s finest and something that many companies learned from.

Why Your Company Should Be Using Social CRM

For those of you who are not familiar with social Consumer Relationship Management. a.k.a. sCRM, here is an overview of the topic.

sCRM allows for brands and businesses to build a personal relationship with their consumers. In a world where new competition is popping up all the time, it is important that brands/business establish themselves in their market. This is important when ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction, high levels of customer return rates, and how your brand/business is perceived by the general public. In turn, your brand/business can make adjustments to fit the needs of their target audience thus building a symbiotic relationship in a sense. If your customers feel as though their thoughts and opinions are not being heard, it can negatively impact your brand/business. We live in a world where consumers are becoming ever more demanding of their favorite brands/businesses and it has become easier for them to do so! Brands and businesses that don’t engage in social media and customer relationships via social media will face a very rough future if they aren’t dealing with it already.

I found this great infographic that breaks down the sCRM process while searching Mashable that was created by Jacob Morgan of Chess Media.

It is Important to Understand Who the Social Customer is. 

-The social customer learns about current events mainly through Twitter and Facebook.

-They take their social network’s opinion about products and brands very seriously when making purchasing decisions.

-The social customer is not a quiet one. They expect brands to interact and engage with them via social media. This could be via Twitter, Facebook or any other social media site. This requires brands to be active in the same social media outlets that they use.

– You as a brand must earn their trust because the social customer wears the pants in the relationship!

Earn Their Trust!

Because social customers have so much power it is important that you get to know them!

Brands/businesses can’t call all the shots anymore. The consumer is louder than ever and if you as brand/business aren’t listening, you are foolish! A big part of earning the trust of your consumers is ensuring that you are being transparent. Transparency proves to your customers that you have nothing to hide and that you always being open and honest with them. Examples of transparency includes something as simple as not deleting tweets after you posted them. Secrets don’t make friends and the same rule applies to customers.

Customer trust becomes extremely important when brand image becomes collaboratively shaped by both the brand itself and it’s consumers. This is a result of participating in sCRM but don’t be afraid, this kind of collaborative relationship allows for the brand to grow. You have to be willing to let go of total message control in order for this kind of relationship to work. The more message control a brand gives up, the more collaboratively they will be able to shape themselves and their messages with their customers. A brand that has a trusting relationship with their customers will have an easier time when making this transition.

You MUST be consistent and prompt when responding to customers via social media. Social customers, just like anyone, will think that you don’t care about them if you don’t take the time to respond to them within an appropriate time frame.

 

10 Brands That Are Doing It Right!

Below I have listed the top 10 brands in my opinion that are using social media via Twitter to their advantage to improve their CRM and sCRM. I suggest you take a look at them and let me know what you think! These are not ranked in any specific order!

1. TOMS: @TOMS

2. Ford- Social Media Manager: @ScottMonty

3. Southwest: @SouthwestAir

4. Starbucks: @Starbucks

5. Jet Blue: @JetBlue

6. Huffington Post: @HuffingtonPost

7. Best Buy- Keith Burtis: @BestBuyRemix

8. Zappos: @Zappos

9. Nike: @Nike

10. Google: @GoogleResearch