Call to techies and problem solvers!

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A big thank you as always to Kachwanya who allows me to re-post and post content on his brand. As a follow up to the last article I posted here that covered my thoughts on #TwitterBigStick, I felt not reposting this article here would be leaving an information gap. So from my blog to Kachwanya’s, here goes:

CONVERSATIONS WITH SUNNY BINDRA, NANJIRA SAMBULI, RAMAH NYANG AND ASIF KHAN.

Just to get everyone on the same page, there was a Twitter storm (Nanjira was kind enough to document it) of sorts after the publishing of these two articles on CIO Kenya’s online platform. One was by Management Consultant and Writer Sunny Bindra and the other by me. The storm that followed was polemic, with camps formed to dismiss the hashtag #TwitterBigStick and some loyally supporting what they felt helped them air their grievances against companies that were otherwise not paying attention.

Nanjira and I, were pitted against Sunny and Asif and as time went by, the 14o character environment noise (aka Twitter) and limitations proved limiting. We agreed to have a sit down and discuss a better way forward. We were/are all in agreement that consumer rights and complaint platforms needed to be improved in the country.

Nikhil Hira, was also a participant in the hot debate and he suggested that we have Ramahas a moderator during our meetup, and we agreed. So on Tuesday the 24th of April we had a sit down and the below was what was discussed:

Where did it begin?

Sunny came into Twitter in order to communicate and connect with a generation that was on it in order to keep up with the times. Twitter big stick was to change how organizations fear the customer, mobilizing people in order to make the change that was required to get organizations to pay attention. People seemed to tag the hashtag as they felt Sunny’s (due to his RT’s) brand gave them a platform that they as ‘smaller’ entities did not have.

How do we get brands online and how do we get clients to be represented better?

We all agreed that brands getting online required the right tools, Asif pointed out that Squad Digital, where he works also believes in monitoring brands using  sentiment engines, which pick all internet data relevant to a brand, not just a Twitter hashtag, as had been pointed out in my article. However, we still felt that the creation of a great complaint platform for customers was a key challenge. As a tech enthusiast/evangelist I proposed mapping complaints, for example, restaurants in Nairobi known for food poisoning. Nanjira suggested that we have a similar platform to GotIssuez, but one that would charge as a freemium model, allowing brands access to customer complaint data, but serving customers by aggregating their complaints and presenting it on a site as a score. Asif, having worked with Ushahidi, proposed using the software to create a complaint data mining platform. However, our resident play blond/devil’s advocate Ramah kept asking us questions of a more technical nature than we could answer. At some point we felt our solutions, noble and workable as we may have envisioned them, may not work well as we are not indeed coders/actual techies.

Where do we go forward from here?

We felt that at this point we needed to rope in those better suited to actually building a platform that could work, talking to Simeon of the iHub and Bankelele of #OverlapKe was a starting step to this. While talking on email, Simeon graciously agreed to give us space and to pitch our ideas and thoughts to techies regarding consumer complaints and a monetised model that they could also benefit from. A tentative date of 15th May 2012 has been set for this, however, till we confirm, we are open to more ideas and thoughts on the way forward. Let’s build a great customer complaints platform people!

What is your opinion on the topic?
Muthoni Maingi
Muthoni is a Brand Strategist and Director at Deviate, a company that works with over 15 of the region's most forward thinking brands. She is passionate about growing SME's, Internet Technology and mentoring young women. She also owns and writes for Tamu Tamu and Bridal Kenya and is an active blogger on a wide range of topics such as business, food and technology and has written for CIO Kenya, Yummy News, Affrinovator and Kachwanya. Before starting her own company she was a Production Coordinator and TV Host for the NTV show Urban Hype, an Account Executive at Habari, and a Brand Strategist at Creative Edge.
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