JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – Many stories have been told during the six years of Abe’s career as PR and 1.5 years as the pilot for Telkomsel's Corporate Communications unit. Including the challenges that must be faced in the midst of the era of transparency and massive technological developments. To Ratna Kartika, the man who was born in Bandung, 48 years ago, told his story.
What are the dynamics of public relations (PR) in the telco industry like Telkomsel today?
There are a lot of turbulences. Especially for the last 2 – 3 years. This is because the technology sector is experiencing very significant development. Actually, we have predicted that there will be many technologies that will disrupt services. However, that speed was immeasurable. In fact, it’s coming sooner than we predicted.
One of the cases was when shifting from 3G to 4G. At first, we predicted that 4G is a technology that will be used for a long time. Hence, we are familiar with the term 4G LTE (long-term evolution). But, it turned out in just 4-5 years since 4G came out, there has been 5G technology.
The impact is the same. Because we are a company that provides massive digital communication services with more than 170 million subscribers, automatically there are many voices that we have to hear with a more detailed altitude. Especially since the birth of social media, the era where “no comment” ended. When a PR says “no comment”, at that time they also show their unpreparedness to predict an event.
So, we as PR are required to do everything fast and be adaptive, and no longer agile. There are so many innovations, media platforms, and digital services, this makes adaptive skills homework in itself.
How do you and your team respond to this phenomenon?
This is interesting. We have more than 170 million subscribers, and many of them have the right to voice their concerns, criticisms, and so on. This means, with comments to instant news, we as PR must be ready 24/7, be faster, and yet unrushed in making decisions
In responding or issuing a statement, we must know what will be said and who will say it. If you make a wrong statement, a crisis can emerge in a matter of 24 seconds, instead of waiting 24 hours for a newspaper to be published.
For example, suppose a customer is actually asking about rates. They asked via social media and we responded without looking at the hashtags included by the customer. In the end, the problem that was between person to a person becomes corporate to the party being tagged. Then, the problem got bigger.
What should be remembered is that the digital footprint in cyberspace will always exist. That is why PR now needs to be sensitive and detailed. When there is a problem, understand the problem well and don't underestimate it.