Posts about big

Customer service in reverse

In the continuing Dell discussion, Steve Rubel answers Steve Baker’s question about how companies should deal with lots of bloggers raising lots of customer service issues:

Steve, over time I think you’re going to see blog search and Web search tools integrated into CRM systems. This will give customer service the tools they need to manage individual issues that bubble on blogs. However, you are right. PR professionals will increasingly need to not only serve as an organization’s mouthpiece (one of them at least), but also its eyes and ears. The best PR pros have done this for years. Blogging just makes it easier to keep our finger on the public pulse.
This is how we operate at CooperKatz. We monitor the blogosphere for all of our clients. If we spot a customer issue, we route it to the right party to manage. Occasionally, we also reach out ourselves to begin the dialogue.

Interesting… so imagine if rather than having to go to companies for service — and waiting on hold and waiting and waiting… — the companies came to us! What a concept.

Think of that world-in-reverse: You post a need online, tagged with a microformat (more on that later), and people find you and bid to solve your problem or sell you their product, selling you with price and also with testaments of trust.

That’s not the world in reverse. That’s the world as it should be: The sellers come to the customers, not the other way around. The customers becomes the marketplace. I like that.

A microscope for every company

Steve Rubel reports that Mike Kaltschnee, the creator of the Hacking Netflix blog, is now starting a blog dedicated to tracking Trader Joe’s.

It’s a neat idea: individual blogs keeping a watchful eye on individual companies. This is just how micro this world can go.

If I were going to buy stock in a company, I’d be glad to have a person — rather than an analyst — giving me new perspective. Ditto if I were going to become a customer.

Hmmmm. What company should I track? Oh, maybe…. Dell?….

Who wants to own content?

I’m glad to see my post asking who want to own content is getting links and comments and good conversation (including some who wish I’d stop prattling about this… but I’m just trying to get my head around how our new world operates, as I did when I suggested that small is the new big). I’m linking again only in hopes of keeping the conversation going…..

I am a TV show

Steve Safran sees the future of news and media happening all around him:

I went to the Rolling Stones concert at Fenway Park last night. I was laughing at all the people who were holding up cellphones so their friends at home could have a listen. They were taking tiny, grainy pictures to email their pals. It was silly. But then it occurred to me – they were sending pictures and feeding audio. They were doing mini-live shots.

Dell learns a lesson

Dell has changed its policy on blogs.

Shankar Gupta at Mediapost just did good reporting following up on my Dell hell saga (ironically, on the same day I got the refund for my laptop):

Dell Computers, which came under fire this summer from blogger Jeff Jarvis, says it has new procedures for dealing with the blogosphere. The company’s public relations department monitors blogs, looking for commentaries and complaints–and, starting about a month ago, began forwarding complaints with personally identifiable information to the customer service department so that representatives can contact dissatisfied consumers directly, said Dell spokeswoman Jennifer Davis. The move appears to have been triggered by a series of “Dell Hell” posts penned by Jarvis about his problems with a Dell computer. Jarvis first wrote about the topic in June, and continued posting updates through the summer.

“Obviously, Mr. Jarvis’ experience could’ve been handled better,” Davis said.

As for other bloggers, Davis said that ideally, when customer service receives forwarded complaints from bloggers, representatives will approach them directly to diffuse the problem. “That’s certainly what they’re supposed to do,” she said. “I can’t comment that it happens 100 percent of the time, but that certainly is what the process is designed for.” Jarvis, on his blog, said Dell contacted him only after he wrote a letter directly to Michael George, Dell’s chief marketing officer.

Well, Dell, that’s a start. I made a few other suggestions in my letter to Mr. Dell. Speaking of which, here’s the kicker on Shankar’s story:

Davis also said that Dell is “looking at the best way to respond” to Jarvis’ last complaint, the “open letter” of Aug. 17. “What we want to do first and foremost is to make sure we’re addressing his specific issue, and making sure that the system is working to his satisfaction,” Davis said. “We’ll also be glad to talk with him about the broader issues–we have not outreached as of yet, but we’re looking at the best way to do so.”

Email works.