Customer Service in the Digital Era

I had an interesting day today. I was actually out and doing, running a couple of errands and what not. But I've had two frustrating brand experiences. One with my bank Standard Chartered and secondly with the consumer electronics company Sony. And I'm going to focus on the one in Sony. It's that anything that's built there, I mean I carry around this little Sony action camera. It's the secret to a lot of my content success in terms of I can struck it anywhere, taking an airplane, plug it in a microphone and get some amazing video as I travel the world. But I had a really interesting small conundrum recently as I bought an accessory for it that didn't seem to work once I got home. So I went back to the place where I actually bought it and they refused to serve me. They outright said, "Well you don't have the product here. You don't have your product receipt. We're not going to help you." Now this is an interesting challenge because here I am, I walked back into the store a week later or whatever it is. The salesperson doesn't even recognize me anymore. But they create a frustrating in person experience. Now in the old world, this would have gone unseen and maybe I would have told 10 people. In peeking back in Marketing 101 the idea of telling 10 people was actually quite frustrating and actually would have been considered to be a negative for a brand.

But in today's world, someone like myself goes into a store. I have a smartphone. I have a Twitter following. I have an Instagram. I have various platforms around me. And what most brands don't realize today is that the idea of a brand is no longer a one way we'll-tell-you-how-awesome-we-are. It's a two-way dialogue. And to the point where even in your franchisee or your third party stores, your brand's voice is two-way.

Firstly, it is what you tell them. What do you tell the audience in terms of your products, your values, your offering, your services. But secondly, it's what the world is saying about your brand as well. It's what my friends over here are talking about this product. I mean the reason I got this camera was it was recommended to me. The features and specs didn't mean much to me. And this got used to record a collaborative curation process that says, "In my world, I believe this was the right choice." But today, I'm questioning that. And that puts me in an interesting position because now my feedback actually becomes negative into an ecosystem of two-way dialogue. What does this mean for a brand like Sony?

So while I was actually in the store. I was still in the Sony Center, I phoned Sony customer support to raise, "Can you help me with my problem?" And fair enough, they asked me to go to a Sony Center even though they were refusing to help me. And secondly, I started saying, I had Twitter, Instagram. I took photos of the place and started sharing. It will be interesting to see the response over the next 24 hours as to who actually responds. Who actually saw my experience and frustration with Sony because now the brand dialogue around Sony is two-way. Will Sony even notice that I've complained about their brand? That I've complained about an experience at one of their outlets? More than likely and I'm going to make an assumption here. I'd say that the outlet I was in was a franchise. It's not actually a Sony. It's not actually Sony. No Sony employee there. But this is very important now. This comes back to around how does Sony curate their brand in their franchisees?

Negative brand experience reflects in their global brand. How do the two-way dialogue operate in a multi-tier environment? It's a challenging question for a number of traditional industries. You think about how many industries today go through multiple ways of distribution to actually get some market. If you owned a brand that was sold through third parties would you want to run the risk of having those third parties make or break your brand? The question for us all in digital native two-way brand communication. I'm Scott Bales and I want to thank you for your time this week and I shall see you next week. Thanks for coming to the Digital Shift.

What's your story about brand experience?