ORM For Great Business Outcomes

Tata Motors' approach not only made ORM a lynchpin in its customer strategy but also saw a higher return on investment through increased sales

Tata Motors can be said to be among those companies that have led the way in utilising the likes of online reputation management (ORM) in directly impacting its business outcomes. In the last few years, the automobile manufacturer set up its ORM team. It integrated this team, and its social media team with the company’s complete network of sales and service across all operational regions.

Over the period since the onset of the first wave of the crisis, it strengthened the processes and set what can be considered aggressive service-level agreements (SLAs) to cater to the evolving customer expectations set by e-commerce companies across sectors. “ORM is now at the core of our commercial operations coupled with escalation mechanisms right to the top, to ensure that customer opinions are heard, responded to and resolved at the earliest,” remarks Vivek Srivatsa, Head-Marketing, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors.

The Core Component

In the early stages of the pandemic-induced lockdown, Tata Motors cars that were pending for servicing were stalled at its workshops, as they could not be delivered to their owners due to movement restrictions. “To make the wait easier, we ensured that we were proactively communicating with customers via WhatsApp, email, SMS and updating them on the safety of their vehicles while sending them photographs of the vehicles to reassure the same,” recalls Srivatsa as he points out the different ways in which Tata Motors was deploying ORM.

Srivatsa reiterates that in the present scenario, it has become imperative to be present on social while acknowledging and listening to customer opinions. Brands can execute the same through the medium of a variety of technologies that assist companies with customer management. “Not doing so may result in their presence being diluted, as ORM has become a common practice across sectors,” the marketing head comments.

As ORM became central to its commercial operations, Tata Motors actively leveraged it as an opportunity to shift from complaint management to engaging with the community in order to cultivate ‘brand lovers’. “Needless to say, happy customers and brand lovers are the foremost advocates for any company,” he quips.

Seamless Experience

The expectation of today’s new-age consumer is that of a seamless journey from online to offline. “With the advancement of technology that is at our disposal today, we are able to map this end-to-end journey and ensure that each customer is identified and recognised individually across touchpoints. Today most of the ORM solutions in the market are integrated with enterprise systems and this becomes important, so as to enable our N=1 strategy,” explains Srivatsa.

As the ORM space evolves for the company, Tata Motors is seeing enhanced cognisance that the customer’s voice is important and needs to be heard. Another trend that will continue to remain prominent in the space is far-reaching improvements in the entire process of customer management and service. Also, there is an increased use of technology and digital to anticipate issues and localise solutions. In all, all these ensure that even in the way forward, ORM will continue to remain relevant and a potent tool for businesses.

The Priorities Ahead

The scale of ORM is growing at a very rapid pace. Srivatsa informs that at Tata Motors alone, the company has approximately 30,000 mentions per month on its brand pages alone that are growing with each passing month.

“Therefore, it becomes a priority to adopt new technologies to manage the relatively large scale of operations, at least in the case of companies such as ours,” he reflects, summing up, “Brands also need to know that if their ORM is not managed timely or lacks in quality, they can easily fall by the wayside in the instant gratification era of today. So, for organisations it is important to adapt to and internalise this and put in place the necessary framework to execute effective ORM.”

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