Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Hamad? Hamad? Who On Earth Is Hamad?

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Yes, the headline on this post does indeed come to you courtesy The Ministry Of Polite Headlines.

The Emirates Identity Authority, or EIDA, has announced a new campaign to 'enhance interaction with customers'. This will no doubt be a source of some considerable glee to many 'customers' who have lacked in some way 'interaction', although I have to say as the whole process has bedded in over the past six years - yes, it has taken that long and yes, they did think it was all going to take six months - there are plenty of points of interaction already.

However, if they see the need to open up another, who am I to complain? After all, I have complained often enough in the past about one-way communications, wilfully obtuse communications and sheer blindingly, infuriatingly mendacious communications. What better than to be answerable to your customers 24x7 at Twitterspeed?

Gulf News carries the story, courtesy of national news agency WAM but labelled as a 'staff report', in which an EIDA official tells them, apparently, the initiative is "in line with Emirates ID’s keenness to consistently communicate with its customers and interact with them through their favourite channels, especially on smart phones and tablets in an innovative way through a cartoon character derived from the UAE heritage."

Hamad is that cartoon character. He comes, apparently, as part of the Emirates ID strategic plan 2010-2013 that aims to enhance customers' satisfaction. He has his own hashtag, #AskHamad, which at the time of writing consisted of two lonely tweets, both carrying a picture of the cartoon character and reading, "Can you guess why I'm here?"

No, Hamad. I have no idea why you're there.

The clincher for me was the fact that Hamad is only going to be there from 12-2pm every Thursday. That's it. You have a two hour window to use the world's biggest always-on real-time communications channel. That's why there are only two lonely tweets there - they haven't opened Hamad for business yet. You wait until Thursday - this baby's gonna trend! Or perhaps not.

Emirates ID already has a Twitter account, @emiratesID_help. Why it needs a two-hour account with a cartoon of a small boy splashed on it, I really don't know.

Anyway, they must know what they're doing. Gulf News tells us Emirates ID won two international awards in social media management last June (the Golden Award for “Best use of social media measurement” and the Sliver Award for “Best use of Communication Management- Public Sector”, says Gulf News.

I have no idea what a sliver award is, but can only assume it's a very small award.

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Fadl Al Tarzi said...

This is Fadl Al Tarzi on behalf of SocialEyez: unfortunately several of the facts stated here are inaccurate. The correct URL to cite for the AMEC 2013 awards is this one not what you used which refers to the 2012 awards:

Gold and Silver awards were jointly won by SocialEyez and EIDA at AMEC in 2013.

Alexander McNabb said...

Hi Fadl

Thanks for your feedback. I've amended the post. The Gulf News piece did refer to them winning 'last June' which I took to refer to the 2012 awards.

Apologies to all concerned for the error.

EmiratesID said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EmiratesID said...

Thank you for taking the time to read about our new initiative. The objective behind our initiative is to give the public more ways to reach us, ask questions, and communicate with us in general. Contrary to the daily support we provide through twitter, during the 2 hours every Thursday we will have an official EIDA spokesperson dedicated to answering queries that may be more strategic in nature which our customer service agents may not readily have answers to. We are happy to be offering many ways for the public to interact with us. Regarding the AMEC awards, please do check the AMEC website 2013 awards link and you will see that we did win the International awards referenced, these were jointly won with SocialEyez.

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