Topic: Advertising/PR

Blogging: Disadvantages??

Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points
I am researching integrating blogs into our new website. We are a service provider that producer trade shows all across the country, so we have thousands of customers, and in those thousands, a few get upset with our service, our guests at the shows, etc.

Currently, these customers have one way to express these concerns....our customer care department. We reply to them individually, and most are happy with the resolution we offer them.

Blogs however, make most of the problems very public, and this worries me in the long run.

How do I keep this from happening? Do most service industry blogs sensor their content or would that seem even more damaging to their customers? Do the benefits out weigh this disadvantage?

Any and all information you could pass along would be greatly appreciated!
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  • Posted by tjh on Accepted
    To me, there's a difference between blogs and forum systems.

    A blog (an online diary or article publishing system, usually written by a Trusted company member) can have its reply function turned off so that only the published articles appear, but nobody can respond.

    A forum system, like this one and many others, are by nature multi-user, public postings, and are meant for public discussions. Forum systems often/usually have a membership management system so that only those that have registered may post, although most also have a function so that anonymous posts can be made - which can usually also be turned off.

    So, you have your choices.

    Some companies have "bared it all" and let their forum systems run wild. Depending on how mature they are at handling posts of the upset variety, this can work in their favor.

    It allows everyone that cares to see the company's attentiveness, customer service out in the open, etc. Generally, upset posters that are irrational or otherwise obtuse are seen as what they are by other readers.

    However, if your company isn't prepared with policies and procedures for handling this wild-west environment - you'll have to either develop some strategies, let it run wild, or handle it, or use your web site for outbound-only comm.

    Over the years, I've seen it go both ways, good and bad. If your customers are educated buyers who tend to be rational thinkers, I'd think a public forum could work to your advantage. Just guessing, it looks like it could go either way.

    Anyway, you'd have the ability to pre-screen ('moderate') posts, and/or delete posts you don't won't shown.

    It will boil down to your company's readiness to deal with it. Fast responses that are within internal policies and procedures limits, including the responses needed to handle the upset folks.

    Done well, you could create fans, not just customers.
  • Posted by SRyan ;] on Accepted
    A friend of mine has created a company with a terrific product. See if you're curious -- it's a replacement for a keyboard, essentially.

    Last time I visited with Linda, she was telling me how successful their company blog site has become. There's a link to it from FrogPad's home page.

    She uses it to stay in touch with customers. And her customers are sometimes stunned and always pleased that they are having an online conversation with the CEO!

    Visit her blog page and see what you think... my bet is that your own company will benefit from a blog if you remain attentive to it, as Tom says.

    - Shelley

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