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Somatica  Digital  Reputation  Management  Case  Study On  Aviva 310809
Somatica  Digital  Reputation  Management  Case  Study On  Aviva 310809
Somatica  Digital  Reputation  Management  Case  Study On  Aviva 310809
Somatica  Digital  Reputation  Management  Case  Study On  Aviva 310809
Somatica  Digital  Reputation  Management  Case  Study On  Aviva 310809
Somatica  Digital  Reputation  Management  Case  Study On  Aviva 310809
Somatica  Digital  Reputation  Management  Case  Study On  Aviva 310809
Somatica  Digital  Reputation  Management  Case  Study On  Aviva 310809
Somatica  Digital  Reputation  Management  Case  Study On  Aviva 310809
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Somatica Digital Reputation Management Case Study On Aviva 310809

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A case study of an Aviva customer service complaint. How it manifested online via the social web; how it was measured; the stats and how it was managed.

A case study of an Aviva customer service complaint. How it manifested online via the social web; how it was measured; the stats and how it was managed.

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  • 1. A Reputation Management Case Study - Aviva Customer Service Case Study Online Reputation Management via the Social Web by http://www.somatica.co.uk Page 1 of 9 31 August 2009
  • 2. A Reputation Management Case Study - Aviva Customer Service Background Situation This is a UK centric case study and outlines in detail the effects across the social web of a customer complaint letter. The letter complained about a set of experiences relating to the quality of customer service provided by the online portal and call centre for what was a simple request. The complaint took place in July 2009, at the same time Aviva embarked upon an ‘A’ list celebrity TV advertising campaigned focused upon the individual care and attention they provided. The motivation for complaining resulted from the “gap” between heavily marketed brand positioning compared against the actual service received. The perceived gap by the complainer was just too big, hence the desire to create some awareness. It is very possible, that if there had not been such an opposed marketing campaign compared to the actual service received, the complaint letter would not have been so tenaciously broadcasted. This case study looks at:- How the complaint was seeded online and offline How the attention grew online The response from Aviva Summary and observations It is hoped the case study is of interest to brands, potential complainers and agencies within the online reputation management sector. The main objective of the case study is to create awareness of how a simple complaint can manifest itself via the social web and how it can be measured and managed. For further information on this case study or to find out more on how to monitor and manage consumer brand engagement via the social web, please email engage-me@somatica.co.uk or visit http://www.somatica.co.uk . The Manifestation of the Complaint and How it was Seeded Online The letter, which can be read in full here, was written and sent first class via the Royal Mail to Andrew Moss the Aviva UK Chief Executive on 17th July 2009. Dates and times associated with actions become important facts within this case study as they show how subsequent elements manifest themselves. The letter was also created in pdf format. It was posted to Slideshare, a website dedicated to sharing presentations and documents and predominantly visited by those who carry out presentations as part of their job function or hobby. It’s not the busiest social media site; however, Google ranks it highly. The link to the letter is here: http://www.slideshare.net/Somatica/karl- havard-aviva-letter-of-complaint-170709 . The document was set up to be downloadable by anyone. The number of downloads, views and embeds are then measured. Views show the number of times the document had been rendered in a browser (not necessarily the number of times the letter has been read in full); embeds show the number of times the document has been included in other websites via html code. This means the document can be viewed from other sites such as blogs and social networks. Downloads mean the file can be held locally on anyone’s computer and then attached to email and circulated. An overview of the letter’s purpose and an embed to the letter on Slideshare was created on 18th July 2009 (a Saturday) on a personal blog. The blog is located on blogspot.com and is not the busiest to say the least. Some authority from Technorati and ranks fairly well in Wikio’s top 200,000 European blogs. In a normal month it receives around 600 visitors a month. So initially, fairly low key placement. The web is huge and for the complaint to be found (in fact any type of content to be found), placing it online and hoping it will go viral is a tac-tic that won’t work. For any content to be noticed it needs to be “pointed” to in the correct manner and within social circles where it is relevant. The social web is full of people who love to complain...and why not? Social media provides a platform for a single voice to be heard and in turn this can gain support from fellow consumers; this can then manifest into something a little more “noisy” and businesses, regardless of size have to take notice and then work out how best to deal with such complaints. http://www.somatica.co.uk Page 2 of 9 31 August 2009
  • 3. A Reputation Management Case Study - Aviva Customer Service So what are the social circles online, specifically the UK, where people love to have a bit of a gripe and moan? There are a few. Three, deemed to be the most influential were selected. These were:- http://www.plebble.com is a purpose designed site that allows consumers to rate their experience with brands. In their own words “The People Powered customer service comparison site - a true e-mocracy” http://www.complaintcommunity.com is again a purpose built site for anyone who wishes to complain. Their approach is to (and this is their words) “to connect the complainer with the complainee; enables complainers to join groups; provide expert advice; help you get a better offer (their business model) and ultimately fix the problem” http://www.moneysavingexpert.com designed for helping consumers save money and get the best offers, but they also provide forums to discuss complaints as well. The details of the complaint with a link to the source of the letter in Slideshare (not the blog) was submitted to each of the sites forums and complaints boards. This was done on the afternoon of 18th July 2009. This generated some interest initially and conversation started to flow. Accelerating the levels of interest was achieved via Twitter. For anyone not familiar with Twitter, it is a real-time micro-blog (limited to updates/posts of 140 characters) that allow individuals to broadcast to their followers (or anyone running specific searches) anything they desire. This includes the ability to include active hyperlinks to any url. These links are also indexed by the search engines. Conversation can be initiated in a number of ways both publicly and privately, this is usually achieved by direct messages and posting replies “@” a fellow Tweeter. Twitter also allows users to “retweet” messages from others, these means messages can be rebroadcast to a wider/different audience. Increasing awareness for the Aviva complaint was achieved via twitter by initially posting a brief description with a link to the letter on Slideshare and to the blog. A search was set up for #Aviva, this provided a list of all “tweets” that had referenced Aviva for one reason or another. Some of these were from people who were also complaining about Aviva. These people were followed and messages sent though “@” replies. Retweeting of the the complaint letter link was achieved many times. Awareness and conversation around the complaint was moderate at this stage. Plebble picked up on the letter and posted it as “front page news” and it became their most popular voted for item for that period. The letter also became the third most popular document in Slideshare for that week. http://www.somatica.co.uk Page 3 of 9 31 August 2009
  • 4. A Reputation Management Case Study - Aviva Customer Service Aviva’s Initial Response All credit to the senior personnel at Aviva, as Andrew Moss did reply back to the letter through traditional post. This letter was an apology for the customer service experiences of the call centre and the online portal, and a statement that this was now being reviewed internally at Aviva. Aviva would then respond in more detail once this review had been completed. The “Trigger” Initially moderate coverage of the complaint via the social web had been achieved, but it could not be classed as viral. For something, whether it is a complaint or a creative campaign, to gain a lot of exposure there needs to be a trigger. The trigger being defined as something that causes significant exposure of content in a very short space of time. Typically, and when associated with a marketing campaign, the trigger is a well thought through, and synchronised multi-channel approach that reaches a lot of people who then begin to circulate it and talk about it...typically this costs a lot of money. Most of this is in the control of the organisation managing the campaign. A letter of complaint normally has no budget behind it; well this one didn’t anyway, and there is no control over any form of trigger. Yet it did experience a point where interest rapidly grew significantly. Ironically, this was charged by Aviva themselves. It became apparent that Aviva posted a link to the blog, where the letter was embedded, on their global internal communications system. This link was posted on Thursday 23rd July 2009. Here are the stats associated with the blog visits and views. In the 14 day period shown above there were 3,501 visitors to the blog, which usually averages around 600 visitors per month. Not a massive number, but a very significant increase from the norm. The spike on 23rd July is pretty obvious. The content being viewed was the complaint letter. 4,813 views of the letter for the same http://www.somatica.co.uk Page 4 of 9 31 August 2009
  • 5. A Reputation Management Case Study - Aviva Customer Service period, with an average time on the page of 9 mins and 9 secs. The letter was being read in its entirety. How was the complaint being found? Nearly 89% of traffic was coming direct - (The link posted on Aviva’s internal comm’s and links in emails). Other referrals (blogger and Twitter) had some impact, nearly 6%. Geographically, the vast majority was UK traffic. Please keep in mind this was only the traffic to the blog where the letter was embedded from Slideshare. For confidentiality reasons the actual network locations have been deleted, but the spread came from 274 different networks in this two week period. The spike in visits was caused by the Aviva link, and therefore initially the majority of traffic was from Aviva personnel. This was reflected by some encouraging comments on the blog post from Aviva employees in the UK and abroad. However, due to the download capability of the letter, and the ability to circulate it; and of course the ability to circulate the link to the blog the diversity and spread of the audience became much wider. The next set of images represents how this occurred across the UK. http://www.somatica.co.uk Page 5 of 9 31 August 2009
  • 6. A Reputation Management Case Study - Aviva Customer Service Prior to posting the complaint, the majority of visits come from the region where the blog owner resides. Aviva (main office based in Norwich) becomes aware of the complaint online. The link is posted internally at Aviva and the visit “epi-centre” switches to naughty Norwich as indicated on the forth UK map. Visits then spread across the UK; Norwich still maintains its majority position, however many more UK locations visit the blog to read the letter. Unfortunately, such regional and network information is not available from Slideshare. However, views, embeds and downloads can be tracked.Note the irony of Google contextual paid search advertising. The full list of available Slideshare stats can be seen below. It shows direct views and views from embeds (from the blog and also from LinkedIn) LinkedIn displayed the letter due to an existing Slideshare embed in place to share presentations. http://www.somatica.co.uk Page 6 of 9 31 August 2009
  • 7. A Reputation Management Case Study - Aviva Customer Service The total stats for the period of 15th July to 28th July 2009 are as follows:- Total measurable views of the letter on Slideshare and the blog were 6,798. It was downloaded 13 times, and therefore could have been circulated by email and read without being traced. There were 17 comments on the blog post. Awareness on Twitter, Plebble and Moneysavingexpert.com about an Aviva complaint was significant. Aviva’s Secondary Response Awareness internally at Aviva was high, and awareness was spreading. As stated in the initial response from Aviva, there was an internal review of the complaint being conducted. However, at this stage, there had been no resolution. On Thursday, John Kitson the Sales and Marketing Director made a call to express his shared concerns. He had listened to the calls and read the letters and empathised with the complaint. He then ensured an Aviva representative would call to resolve the issue. This occurred shortly after John Kitson’s call. The outcome resulted in a cancelled policy. However, Aviva’s response which had been handled very professionally all the way through resulted in a follow up post on the blog to outline how the complaint had progressed; the reasons for the complaint in the first place; and to place Aviva in a more positive light due to their efforts and professionalism in resolving the matter. A link was then placed from the complaint letter to post to this update post. It must be stated, that not every consumer who wishes to complain would add a follow up; however, it was felt necessary due to the way Aviva had handled the complaint. This follow up post served to qwell the complaint interest, although further views and downloads occurred. Plebble picked up on this post, and placed Aviva in a positive light. Please check the last sentence of the Plebble post. Further Impact of the Complaint Letter on the Web Due to the activity around the letter, the blog, Twitter, Slideshare etc. the search engines picked up on this and ranked it highly. It had been placed on authoritative sites and had many credible links pointing to them. Search engines, specifically Google, has become much faster at indexing content and what used to take months and weeks can now take days and even hours (Google Alerts & News). WIthin a matter of days a search for “Aviva Customer Service” place the Plebble result at number 2 in the rankings, and the letter on Slideshare at number 6. The blog featured at number 11. But what about the social web? What was the impact there? The screenshot from addictomatic.com shows how the complaint was picked up in the various areas for the same search term. Coverage had extended to Friendfeed, Wikio, Delicious and http://www.somatica.co.uk Page 7 of 9 31 August 2009
  • 8. A Reputation Management Case Study - Aviva Customer Service Tweetmeme. http://www.somatica.co.uk Page 8 of 9 31 August 2009
  • 9. A Reputation Management Case Study - Aviva Customer Service Summary, Observations and Lessons to Learn By mid August views of the letter had increased 10,000 plus. Visibility of the complaint had spread and the ‘negative sentiment” was being associated with Aviva brand terms in the search engine results. However, those who take the time to click through these results to the blog and Plebble will see a more favourable response should they read the detail. The probability however, is they won’t. This proves the power of the social web. A single letter written by a consumer, with no investment other than effort and some knowledge of social media, can gain awareness and interest. In this instance, Aviva themselves enhanced this visibility by posting it on there internal systems. This could be seen as a bad move, however, it encouraged some Aviva personnel to offer their apologies and concerns by commenting on the blog and sending emails. They did not need to do this, but they did, and hence a more positive update was posted. Such customer service/brand reputation issues can occur at anytime, so it is imperative that every consumer brand should be at least monitoring the social web for such activity; and when they become aware of any instances that occur they can decide upon the relevant course of action. Typically, most complaints if dealt with effectively will result in a positive outcome and potentially create a level of brand advocacy. All complaints or negative brand sentiment should be treated as opportunities; as opposed to acting defensively as the first course of action...as so many organisations tend to do. Done well, consumer brands can utilise the social web in a more proactive manner to better engage with their consumers, by taking the time to listen and offer valuable advice and guidance; as opposed to just “marketing products” in a very basic manner. So many brands do this and get it badly wrong. There are many more stats and details around this case study, however, due to potential confidentiality concerns they have been omitted. It is hoped you found this case study interesting and took away something of value. Thanks for reading. If you’re a business and want to find out how to manage such issues or just have a discussion around the whole subject please contact Somatica at engage-me@somatica.co.uk or visit http:// www.somatica.co.uk and have a look around. We’d definitely recommend reading our Online Brand Trust Profiling. http://www.somatica.co.uk Page 9 of 9 31 August 2009

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