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Essentials : Dealing with customer complaints

As a business, you want to give your customers the best products, services and care as possible. This is the same for all kinds of businesses – whether you’re a retail business, a hospitality business or a service based business like a PR agency. Even though you might take the necessary steps to ensure a happy customer experience, there will always be unsatisfied customers – there might be an issue with your product or service, a delay or maybe a simple miscommunication.


Customer is king, and when a customer is unhappy, you need to address their grievances in order to prevent customer loss. Unhappy customers might also spread the word, which is definitely bad PR and can cause you to lose potential customers too. Here are some essential tips for dealing with unhappy customers.


Listen to what your customer has to say


When a customer has a complaint, you have to listen carefully and put your emotions aside – it is essential that you remain calm even if the customer is screaming their lungs out. Do not respond aggressively because this will only make your customer more upset. Complaints are not always verbal, it can also be written through emails or even reviews on various channels online. Pay attention to all the complaints you receive, this will help you understand the problem. With a better understanding of the problem, you can work on solutions to help avoid such complaints in the future.


Accept and offer help


Whether it is your business at fault, a product malfunction, or your customer was just unlucky to have a bad experience, apologize for any inconvenience caused. When you do this, you show your customer that you acknowledge their feelings. Don’t just stop at that, thank your customer for their feedback and also let them know that you will help them make the issue right.


Every problem has a solution


Now matter how complicated an issue is, there’s always a solution. Whether it is replacing a malfunctioning product, offering a refund, or something else, finding a suitable solution to make your customer happy is essential because leaving the issue unresolved could result in losing that customer.


Ask more questions to the customer and get them to talk about their problem. As you keep the conversation going, you will find it easier to get to the root of the problem. And you most definitely want your customers talking to potential customers about how well the issue was handled.


Follow up


After the complaint is handled and your customer agrees with the solution offered, you need to follow up. By doing so, you show your customer that you truly care about them. Making them happy can earn you a loyal customer for life and they will be sure to spread the word about.


How you deal with customer complaints can completely change the way your business is perceived. Address issues quickly and work with the customer to find a solution that is satisfactory. Fixing issues effectively can help with customer retention and also boost your business reputation.


The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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pr digital agency bangkok thailand corona virus crisis management

How businesses can build reputation during this crisis?

Clear communication and leadership is key for all companies and organizations during the Covid-19 crisis.


The total impact of Covid-19 is yet to be understood, but it is imperative that companies and organizations manage the situation sooner rather than later to ensure they can traverse this period in the best possible way and to do this requires a well-defined leadership position and clear and concise communication with staff, stakeholders, and customers.


Unexpected events such as these can catch businesses off guard; they can also have a major impact on sales, revenue, and a brand’s reputation if the situation were to be mismanaged.


The importance of having protocols in place, both in-house and out-of-house, for prevention and protection cannot be underestimated at this time. These actions are seen and noted by everyone and as such will be remembered once the crisis has passed.


So business leaders need to develop a plan and implement it sooner rather than later. It’s key that staff understand the measures being put in place to protect their safety, the same applies to any customers that interact with your staff and also your suppliers. In a world where fake and misleading news is widespread, the onus falls on companies and organizations to put forward reliable and fact-based information.


But to ensure this information remains current it needs to be continually updated as new details come to hand from resources such as the World Health Organization, Ministry of Health, and credible and trusted media only.


Working closely with your chosen PR and communications partner is an important factor to ensure your messages are as clear and effective as possible. They can also help with internal training to better help the management team respond to both internal and external questions about your preparation, plans, and management of the effects of Covid-19.


The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Press releases done right – Part 1

The press release is perhaps the most valuable tool in the industry, having been around for over 100 years. Public relations professionals have been using this tool to provide accurate, first-hand information to the media and public – the method of distribution is probably the only thing that has changed over the years.


The definition of a press release is quite broad. But to sum it all up in plain English – a press release is an official statement prepared by an organization which is sent to the media with the to convince them to publish a story based on information on the release.


This basic tool has withstood the test of time simply because it allows PR professionals to check a whole lot of boxes using one piece of content:

°Tell the story the way they want to

°Distribute these stories quickly and economically

°Present facts

°Secure media coverage

°And reach a wider audience

Let’s see how it all works.


A job well done typically means a press release goes through three stages:


  1. Write : The first and possibly the most important stage of a press release because this represents how your news is sent out to the media and eventually to the public.
    °Find the perfect angle that will resonate with people.
    °Make sure your press release is easy to read – do not ambush your readers with tons of technicalities. Try to find a press release template that works for you.
    °Write an attention-grabbing headline with 2 to 5 strong body paragraphs and supporting details.
    °Don’t forget to include contact information.
  2. Distribute : Once a press release is written, the next step is to distribute it. This can be done in different ways.
    °Pitching targeted media : Distribute the press release to targeted journalists along with personalised pitches to encourage them to read and publish your story. This task can be made easier using a media database.
    °Social media and owned media : You can post your press release on your own social media channels and send them out for internal distribution to members within your organisation’s database.
    °Newswire Services : These services distribute press releases to a large and broad spectrum of journalists. Similar to a social media newsfeed, a wire service is a platform where press releases can be posted and found by any journalist looking for a scoop that day.
  3. Post : After the press release is distributed, it is given a permanent place online to allow access to anyone looking for more information in the future. Many organisations have a “Media” or “News” section, where all of these press releases live forever. Companies that don’t have the resources to post to their own website can also post their releases to an external newsroom.


Now that we have a good idea about the life of a press release, let’s take a look at the types of press releases on our next blog.


The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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An indispensable tool for PR and marketing

For those of your familiar with the PESO model – you must know that Paid, owned, shared and earned media are the major tools of Public Relations and business marketing. Earned media refers to any promotional material about your business that you haven’t paid for. Although paid and owned media are the ones truly under your complete control, it’s always a good idea to blend earned media into your cocktail for marketing and promotion for the best results. However, earned media doesn’t come without a price, it requires your company to gain influence and produce campaigns that stand out. Let’s get into why earned media is essential to every success story.


Helps boost brand image


With consistent, quality content, your brand tends to get noticed more. When a significant person or entity decides to share your message and promote your brand, it could make a world of difference to your business. When your business is linked to a brand with influence, it will increase your credibility and help you gain popularity. Product reviews, social media shares and other such efforts taken by your followers who are impressed by the work done or products and services offered by your brand makes a positive impact on how your brand is viewed by the world.


It’s a great companion to other media


When earned media is combined with paid, owned and shared media, you can get the most out of your marketing strategy. Sometimes, customer testimonials are the most convincing piece of evidence to prove your brands worth. A customer’s satisfaction can create a positive outlook in the mind of another potential customer. When this earned media is shared by yourself or your customer, it encourages other people to try out your company’s offerings.


Doesn’t eat into your marketing budget


The strongest point in favour of earned media is that it’s free. Studies show that the average marketing budget for a business is anywhere from ten to twenty percent of the annual budget, depending on the size of the business. This sometimes converts to little or no results and if an organisation invests in a method that doesn’t compliment the business, it could mean tons of losses in almost no time. But when it comes to earned media, your business does not have to spend a dime on it. Providing quality content consistently generates the interest of other reporters or creators who in turn share the goodwill, thus “earning” your business more publicity.


Make money – spending virtually nothing


You can generate a whole lot of additional income from earned media, and save money in the process. It helps prevent you from spending too many baht on unproven marketing methods to boost your business. You can attract more earned media by putting your customer first and encouraging people to review your brand and spread the word – the easiest way to do that in this day and age is social media. Positive feedback from social media influencers can lead to your brand becoming an overnight sensation. All this means your brand grows without any additional investment on your part. 


Earned media is a ‘bonus’ addition to your marketing strategy – for both young and developed businesses. All forms of media are profitable, of course. But the idea that your company can boost image and sales without any extra investment is worth the effort to produce consistent quality with and offer your customers the best.


The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Are Airbnb’s still safe?

The Airbnb platform offers a lot of flexibility to both homeowners and renters. It allows people to make extra income by hosting strangers in their home. From the renter’s point-of-view, it allows them to skip the expensive hotels for the comforts of a home. But there’s always a dark-side to freedom and in light of the recent tragedy that occurred at an Airbnb host property, the $31 Billion company was quick to rework its policies.


A tragic backstory


A homeowner cautiously accepted a request from a renter who claimed her family shelter for a night to get relief from the raging Californian wildfires. But on 31 October, the renter hosted a Halloween party for more than one hundred people in an Airbnb host property located in Orinda, a suburb just outside San Francisco. This led to the police being called several times by neighbours with complaints about the havoc created at the crowded party. Unfortunately, by the time the police reached the scene, all hell was unleashed when a shooter left behind five victims and numerous injuries. 


Airbnb’s response


The company’s CEO Brian Chesky acknowledged a loophole in its booking system that allows a host home to be used for parties. In a thread of tweets, Chesky summarized the step of a new company policy. He also answered tweets that claimed that his rapid response was an act to clear Airbnb’s name before an IPO. 

There hasn’t been an official statement on the Airbnb website yet, but members received an email about an update to its Terms and Privacy policy.


A PR challenge


Airbnb is not a corporate hotel chain with its name attached to a list of hotel buildings. It serves as a platform to connect willing hosts with many tourists and travellers. 

Although brands in hospitality are experts at launching and promoting booking systems or loyalty programs, but dealing with a crisis of this stature is sure to be one of the biggest challenges for PR. Airbnb excels at advertising to promote its brand both print and digital but this time it rapidly needs to create a response to the public backlash coming its way. 

This was not the first time an Airbnb property was used as a party house. The company said it is doing everything to find out more about what happened that night, and it is also working to revamp its policies, making it stricter for such violators. Will this help reassure people who list their homes on the platform, as well as renters who want a safe place to stay?


The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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When closed pubs get good reviews

Give me your tired, your hungry, your countless netizens in search of the best options in hotels and restaurants… Web-based providers of information all but promise instant bliss these days, for those who know what they’re looking for. Generally reliable information on places to eat and sleep is plentiful, conveniently categorised and sorted by numerical scores. But the very size of the system creates room for misinformation to hide in wait, lurking at times amusingly, suspiciously, until truth seekers stumble upon brick-and-mortar updates that AI still finds hard to detect, for now.


Sunday roasts and ghosts


Four years ago, Charles Goodall purchased a pub once known as the Bridge Inn in Middleton-in-Teesdale, England, with the plan of knocking it down and building homes on the premises. For a period of about three years and ending in 2016, the pub received TripAdvisor reviews, with comments on such savories as the Sunday roast, and how the service of the wait staff sometime left something to be desired. The only problem is that the establishment closed its doors in 2011. Goodall dutifully contacted TripAdvisor and the pub was in time updated to let the world know that its true status. TripAdvisor acknowledged in the 2018 Transparency Report that it had caught around one million reviews it deemed to be fake before they got a chance to be uploaded onto the site. All of the more than 60 million posts reviewing venues on TripAdvisor in 2018 underwent a fraud detector. Over 2.5 million of these reviews went through additional screening by a team that specialises in checking content concerns.


Bon appétit but beware


The nature of the way we find such basic services such as hotels, meals, and a growing array of products and services, has forever changed. Convenience is king and options abound. The online world makes it infinitely easier to get around and order a stunning variety of things, with minimum hassle and delay. But there’s still room for improvement to the system, and misleading reviews are a part of the overall phenomenon of fake news, so a little double-checking and prudence is never a bad idea, especially when the kinks are being worked out.


The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Lie detectors wanted

The proliferation of fake news has led to renewed calls for fair-minded institutions and individuals with the integrity to keep us informed about what really happened. In the multi-platform information age, while the amount of raw data – and big data – continues growing exponentially, the value of all of these facts, factoids and downright mistruths are coming into question. Our trust in the veracity of what we see and hear has significantly eroded. New methods are needed if mistrust is to be kept in check.


Faking it well


Younger people are getting news from social media. Traditional media has gone online too. Digital marketers have a stunningly rich array of ways in which they can spread messages. But a lack of standardisation and fact-checking all around has led to more skepticism. The way in which messages can spread has increased, while the likelihood of our believing the information thrust at us has declined. Photoshopped images were just the beginning. With deepfakes and AI getting more sophisticated by the day, and sites where stories and videos shared lack oversight and regulatory bodies filtering posts, it is becoming more of a challenge to determine what’s real.


Reality check


Propaganda has always been with us. Hollywood magic has long dazzled us with stories that we like to pretend are real, at least for a couple of hours of suspended disbelief. But now the art of make-believe has become easier and cheaper to pull off, and available to the masses. The potential societal impact is significant. Media organisations, PR agencies and other outlets with a reputation for telling it like it is now have new roles not only as representatives of particular viewpoints, but as truth tellers, in a day and age in which the truth itself has become the most precious of commodities. They may thus increasingly take on roles as agenda setters, to counteract technoractic tendencies have allowed for information to be shared with the greatest of ease, but without the fact checking that many now crave.


The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Edited, unedited and kinder versions of things you find online

Gen Z and Millennial netizens are coming to terms with some of the less satisfying aspects of their online lives, and working out ways to better find genuine connections and a new sense of community – things that, indeed, the Internet is supposed to be all about. A new study reveals a range of conflicting thoughts about time spent in cyberspace, and how it can perhaps become a happier place.


Can’t live with it, can’t live without it


Over half of respondents feel that overall online experiences make them feel less happy, yet almost just as many people said that they can’t imagine a life in which they don’t maintain at least one social media account. One big issue is how the technology helps spread images of perfect bodies adorned with perfect outfits and accessories, which can lead to thoughts of not quite measuring up among those exposed to them.


Perfectly imperfect


Four of 10 respondents said that they wished apps for editing photos and videos didn’t exist. Brands are reacting to the overabundance of picture-perfect influencers and amazingly adorned if somewhat intimidating models by keeping images realer in an attempt to not turn off potential customers.


Warning: ‘likes’ up ahead


Editing is still valued when it comes to the opinions of friends and others, though – tact remains a genuine enhancement. One of the survey’s most significant responses was how more than four in five people reported how they said their mood was affected by the numbers and percentages of likes that their social media posts received, and the types of comments they generated. In a world where more clothing is being bought and ideas exchanged online, it pays to make sure the words and images out there are making people happy.


The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Humans are storytellers and story sharers. Everyone loves a good story and they also love to share those stories on their social media accounts such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. When a brand has a great story to tell they need to ensure it is told well and in a way that people will want to tell their connections about.


Share and share a like


Today, every single person who is active on social media is like a mini digital media company of one, they are your add-ons to traditional media channels. If it’s an event give them something to photograph, video, or simply write about and if it is a static story on social media make sure it is worthy of a like and a share because when you do this you have instantly increased your reach and engagement beyond paid media channels.


Put a capital ‘E’ in your stories


Pick one or more of these to be the focus of your brand’s story –


Engaging – when you’re telling someone something they want to hear about then you have already been welcomed into their world.


Educational – when your story will help enhance someone’s life through knowledge and valuable information they will react accordingly, they will be thankful for the information and more often than not they will share it.


Entertaining – we all love to be entertained and when a brand’s story can be told in a lively and fun way then audiences will be thankful. We all lead such busy lives so when a brand can provide some respite people will not only be thankful they will also remember what the brand did.


Exciting – big news gets attention, so when a story has some ‘wow’ factor to it people will respond. Stop people in their tracks with something they cannot resist walking past and paying attention to.


Empathetic – brands that understand their audience will always have loyal followers, when a story is told in a way that people can relate to that story will be sure to resonate with them.


Emotional – when your story can tug at someone’s heartstrings it is hard for them not to react, but you need to do it in a way that touches their feelings and will be embraced by them.


The best stories are rarely forgotten and luckily in today’s social media enthralled world those stories are spread far and wide. So when considering your next public relations campaign strategy ensure you have a story to tell for your brand and that it is one others will want to share.


Joseph Henry is the founder and CEO of Vivaldi Public Relation Agency.

He is an expert communicator and influencer who has been helping leading companies achieve their strategic objectives in Asia for the last 20 years.

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Smooth influencer

There’s no way to dazzle followers like sharing an extended version of one of life’s most romantic if not always completely surprising events, live online. So when Instagram fashion influencer Marissa Casey Fuchs’ fiancé popped the question, the biggest butterflies-in-stomach moments may have been for those tracking the financial impact on her big-name clients, as it seems safe to assume that the event was planned in advance by the couple. Judging from the enthusiastic reception from her fan base, and the free news coverage that ensued, it was one clever idea.


The client and the influencer


With more than 160,000 followers on Instagram, Fuchs has a long reach. As publicists become more of a part of the story themselves, as companies are able to gain a good following by simply dedicating a few employees to managing their social media accounts in-house, and as images and messages are more easily streamed by anyone for any practically any purpose, just who is promoting whom becomes an intriguing question. Going into a partnership with an another party, the reputation of the more renowned one tends to more significantly affect the less well-known one, or, in the case of two parties on more or less equal footing, it’s a matter of building opportunity, one relationship at a time. Who the greater influencer of them is, is an open question.


Every move you make


Fuch’s smoothly choreographed engagement was closely followed by her fans, and earned her new ones. The elegant gold necklaces studded with diamonds that were part of the story, the places the couple dined, and other personal details all became part of a brand-focused experience and story. While it may not have been a surprise, the engagement still sparkled, judging by the approving posts of followers, and generated its own feel-good PR, proving that this Instagramer is indeed the FashionAmbitionist she bills herself as.


The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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