Brazilians have found out an effective way to be respected as consumers and to express their opinion about a product or a service. Understand how social networks have changed the behavior and the mentality of Brazilian consumers.
About ten years ago, a customer that needed assistance from a certain company would have to either spend at least 30 minutes on a phone call or send the company an e-mail that would take about 48 hours to be answered and most of the times, the answer would be only a notification that the e-mail was received and would be answered as soon as possible.
Both options would keep the problem between the company and the customer. In the worst case, the customer would tell his friends and family to avoid buying anything from that particular company and that was it. The problem would be forgotten and the company image would hardly be affected. But in 2001, things have started to change.
About 10 years ago, it was not uncommon in Brazil that some companies had no direct contact form on their web page, leading customers to get in touch with them exclusively over the phone. In many cases, there was no toll number and the customer would have to pay for the call and also wait in line for 30 minutes or even more. In order to help these customers, Reclame Aqui was created.
Established in 2001, Reclame Aqui is a website where unhappy customers can expose their complaints. Whenever a customer registers a complaint, the company is notified and has to provide an answer that is also going to be displayed on the website. The customer will then rank the answer and say whether he is happy or unhappy with the company.
What we can see here is that there is no more room for the one-way relationship between customers and companies. Customers are now aware that if the company does not listen to them, other customers will.
Besides being a place where customers can express their unhappiness, it is also a very helpful database that can strongly influence the customer's decision. Reclame Aqui displays a rank in which companies are classified according to the number of complaints they receive and how quickly and effectively they are solved.
The ranks classify the best and the worst companies, so they have started to worry in which of the lists they would be.
As blogs became popular in Brazil, they have also become an important vehicle for customers to express their opinion. Just like Reclame Aqui, it works for both complaints and accomplishments and little by little customers have made their blogs more and more specific.
You will probably find a blog for any product in Brazil, from shoes to electronics. It is very common to have people writing entire texts regarding how good or bad a service is (mostly about how bad) and receiving comments such as “good to know, I have considered this brand, but now I will give it a second thought”.
Needless to say that these blogs have drove companies crazy as, differently from Reclame Aqui and other interactive forums, they do not give the company a chance to directly express its side of the story. So even if they call the customer, solve the problem and even if the customer has totally changed his mind on that service or product, he will hardly come back and write another text, this time praising the company, and the text with all that negative opinion will remain online for whomever wants to read it.
Twitter, Orkut and Facebook
The major activity in these social networks is to tell what is happening in your life. So it is very common to see people displaying what they have recently bought and how they feel about it. Twitter, Orkut and Facebook are like an open door through which companies can see what is being said about them in social gatherings.
The speed in which these comments spread throughout internet has led companies to work hard on the constant monitoring of what is being said about them. For this reason, this channel has become the fastest and the more effective of them all, as the company wants to solve the problem very quickly in order to keep a positive image.
Changes in Advertisement Models
Social networks have significantly changed the advertisement model throughout the world. It is not only through the advertisement space, but also the interactive relation between brand and consumer.
The advertisement made by the company is no longer enough to convince potential consumers that a certain product or service should be acquired. Of course, traditional media is important to keep that certain product or service in the consumer's imaginary, but it is no longer decisive for the purchase.
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