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Today Millions Can Learn Of Your Mistakes On The Internet

Edinburgh airport: catching the red eye. bad customer experience No. 156: i often catch the red-eye flight from Edinburgh to London. the earliest flight ... [txnt unconnected]

The communications freedoms of the Internet sound like a concern for business-to-business companies, but consider the value to market research. Yes, that's right, learning about the concerns of customers is easier now than you could ever before.

As people chat up your product in discussion boards, or other public forums; your customer service staff can listen in to learn about what you can do to improve your product or service. While one persons perception of service value isn't representative of all your customers, that same channel might be used to share what you did about their concern.

Other points to consider:

  1. Be aware of what is being said. The companies that refuse to monitor all mediums are the ones that slowly lose customer base-- sure it's a lot of material to monitor, but with today's technology it can be mostly automated. Try searching on your company name periodically, you'll be surprised what you come up with.
  2. Address the matter directly. Never pretend you don't know about bad publicity. Both your marketing and public relations departments should assess the situation before a direct contact from customer service. Never take the approach of litigation unless the writers comments are slanderous. Weblogs are a great place to directly point out positive coverage.
  3. Try to make the situation right. Just as you might for any other customer concern, contact the writer and try to correct the situation. Find out what you could have done to improve the situation, and try to prevent this type of irritation in the future. Listen with the intent to improve the situation.
  4. Understand that all people have some level of influence. Whether newspaper columnist or past customers, remember everyone has some level of influence with their comments. Take into consideration any customer concern, no matter who expressed it, then apply proper due diligence to determine which concerns to address first.
  5. Never discount an individuals level of influence. For strong customer relationships, treat each comment as if it reached your most valuable customers. A comment about your product today might not draw too much attention, but could just as easily be found by someone considering your product over a competitors.

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By Justin Hitt at September 26, 2003 11:21 AM  Subscribe in a reader


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