In February of 2009, local columnist Jenny Ortuoste, who also blogs at gogirlcafe.jennyo.net, wrote an impassioned blog entry about her web hosting company. "To all JENNYO.NET readers, my apologies for this site being 'down' for so long and so often," Ortuoste writes on her blog."
The problem was with her web hosting provider, a local company who failed to account that she paid for two years' worth of domain registration, and not just one, hence the downtime.
She went on to explain her predicament with the company's support team who appear to be inept and unresponsive to customer inquiries. A few days later, she got an email from the support team of the provider, in an angry, accusing tone, mad for the flak they received for giving poor customer service.
Ortuoste is just one of the many customers dissatisfied with the local company's customer service, that when one searches for the name in Google, a crop of blog posts from enraged customers pop up even on the first page. Worse, some users took it a bit further and made a Facebook fan page, indicating the company's failure in rendering rightful and paid-for service.
This is the scenario of the marketplace today: consumers aren't anymore lining up at service centres or calling customer hotlines for issue resolution. They are venting their concerns through the easily accessible world of the web, social media in particular.
And in the always-on, instantaneous delivery of modern information, customers are demanding swift action to their concerns or else. "Customers today are more demanding," relates Craig Sullivan, vice president and general manager, NetSuite. "They have higher and often times more sophisticated expectations. They want things done faster, in the way they want, at the time when they need it, in the medium or channel that they prefer."
Consumers are continually taking to the web to criticise brands, or worse, collectively call for boycotts of the product, thereby damaging brand reputations and bleeding customers out of small and even large companies.
Ortuoste's web hosting company, former to be exact, still stands today, boasting of a 3,000-client strong network despite the online buzz against them. The firm may still stand, but the reputation they have built online will surely affect decisions of potential customers in the future.
Protecting its online reputation, as well as engaging with its customers, is one of the reasons why in 2009, local telecommunications firm Globe Telecom established a digital marketing division, part of a strategy of creating an ecosystem for digital channels to thrive on.
"It was crystal clear to us that CRM integration was a necessary inclusion in our channel strategy," remarks Paul John Pena, the company's digital marketing head.