In a classic example with quick-thinking and making good use of opportunities, a HTC product manager in the US turned a negative user experience from someone using a competitor device into a powerful social media-driven campaign to organically promote the brand.
Last month, one man’s Samsung Galaxy S4 melted while it was being charged overnight. The damage was so severe, it melted the charging port and split the USB cable head from the cable. He shared an experience on Reddit, where it was met with a lot of negative comments on Samsung and its products. Other, more civil comments told the user to file a complaint to Samsung and see if the device can be replaced. He did, and Samsung fortunately offered him a replacement, considering that the device that melted was being charged using an original USB cable and battery.
29 days later, the user submitted another Reddit post as an update to his previous one. Apparently, despite the promising initial exchange, Samsung did not follow through on its promise, and a replacement device remained undelivered. That same day, a Reddit user from HTC USA swooped in, first asking some questions about the situation before eventually offering the user a brand new HTC One (M8) to replace the melted Galaxy S4.
That one act of eagle-eyed marketing dynamism prompted plenty of positive responses within the post, before spreading virally in social media. Many credited the quick action of Leigh Momii, the HTC product manager in question, for the gesture and earning the “coolest company of the month” moniker. In an interview with T3, Momii gave a similar response:
“We want to put a face to the company and let people know that we are easily accessible. HTC is nimble, we’re small and accessible. We can respond quicker than our competitors and make everything from the product to customer care more personal.”
It must also be said that the user’s calm nature in explaining the situation and keeping the discussion civil swayed Momii in the user’s favour. Throughout the post, the user encouraged users to keep the discussion going without resorting to “rage posting” from others. In the end, the owner of the molten Galaxy S4 is now a proud owner of a brand new HTC One (M8), while the brand earned invaluable street cred for helping someone out on Reddit.
As for Samsung, this isn’t the first time it has lost out on social media marketing opportunities as well. Last year, a different Galaxy S4 user had his device catch fire during charging, and Samsung handled it very poorly. The burnt Galaxy S4 user was told that Samsung needed video proof, which Samsung later requested for it to be taken down (complete with a written contract) in exchange for a replacement device. Sensing an opportunity, Nokia stepped in, offering a Lumia Windows Phone to replace the user’s busted smartphone – and a parting shot to Samsung for its heavy-handed approach.