It is even more important when trying to establish relationships between the organisation and its clients and customers. People talk, but more lately, they would rather express their thoughts and concerns on the internet, than personally. By doing this, they reach a much bigger audience and can thus make a bigger impact, leading to bigger problems for your company.
A Kenyan newspaper, The Standard, wrote:
“With growth of technology, referrals have gone a notch up. Consumers can access weblogs and online social networks to rant and rave about bad experiences with products or services.
Disgruntled employees can use Internet platform to take a shot at their employers without fear of reprisal, while critics are no longer worried about censorship, all of which should be of concern to any brand manager.”
Together with relationship management, the internet can also be used as a means of brand and reputation management. The Standard quotes Mr. Japie Swanepoel of Interactive Concepts in South Africa, saying:
“One dissatisfied customer can wreck havoc on a brand’s image when they talk of their frustrations with a product and other consumers read and comment on the negative remarks made.Online reputation management is key and marketers should be able to leverage on the positive comments made by consumers to counter negative remarks.”
But there is light at the end of the tunnel! As Mr Tony Karanja, managing director of Infinitive Communications (Kenya) says, there are tools that can be used to manage bad publicity that may come from blogs and social networks, though Kenyan companies rarely use them.
The article continues saying that there are still space for growth, as there are 3.6 million Internet users in Kenya. This just shows that not all countries have gone over to the “e-side”.