Customer Service & Bloggers

Some bloggers think they don’t have to provide any customer service. They don’t seem to realize that they are the company competing for something (customer visits in the blog world as opposed to customer dollars in other industries) in an extremely competitive market.

When the going gets tough and companies find themselves in an extremely competitive market, they should try to focus on customer service more. It has been proven again and again that customer service is really something that can make a difference, and I don’t think it is too much different with blogs and the bloggers who own and run them.
A competitive marketThere are tens, hundreds, thousands, and maybe even more blogs on pretty much every imaginable topic from Apple to Vista and every letter, operating system, computer maker, music genre, pop-culture phenomenon, and more in between. Many subjects (i. e. technology) have lots of worthy competition.

Why do I read one particular blog about productivity instead of another? – no real particular reason, but it does show that there is competition out there. The same goes for blogs about customer service, entrepreneurship, marketing, relationships, venture capital, and the likes – there are thousands of other (good) blogs out there that your visitors can read so might as well try and set yourself apart through customer service as well.

Now that you (further) understand that your blog probably has 3,000 other blogs on the same topic with information that very well may be just as good and better marketed – let’s see how you can use customer service to help your blog.

Community and Customer Service
In his interview with Service Untitled, Joe Kraus discussed community and its relation to customer service. As a blogger, you need to build a relationship with your customers (readers) and let the relationship continue to build. The community your blog has around it will be what eventually sets you apart from the other blogs.

  • Respond to comments. A crucial part of building your community is to respond to comments. If a reader posts a comment saying “I agree, but I also think you should look at how company XYZ does such and such.” you (as the blogger) should respond to the comment with a reply saying something like “You’re right. I’ve added that to my post.” or “I don’t necessarily agree with you. Here’s why: .” It shows the reader that their opinion does matter and is seriously considered.
  • Respond to emails. Responding to emails is as important as responding to comments. If readers ask for some sort of help, try and provide it to them. Try and help people when you can – it’ll pay off in some form eventually. And if you can’t help people – at least be nice and say “I’m not really a great person to help you with that. However, my friend the freelancer (who provides great customer service) can. His email address is bob@bobdesigner.com.” If readers send you a link to an article they thought would interest you, reply back with a quick “Thanks, I checked it out and it made some good points.” Even if you didn’t like the article, you should at least thank the reader for sending it. It’s called common courtesy (which is a big part of customer service).
  • Don’t forget other bloggers. As a blogger, you should also try to be nice to other bloggers. If a blogger emails you and asks where you got your blog skin or how you got your blog to change colors when they enter a different search term, try and provide a coherent and helpful explanation. In the long run, it’s much more effective to be nice to the people who ask you for help. You may need their help at some point and if you’ve been rude to them, they probably won’t provide it.
  • Accept help graciously. If someone offers to help you, you should accept it or at least provide a good reason why you don’t want it. If someone offered to redesign Service Untitled (for free) and I didn’t care for the designs in their existing portfolio, I’d thank them nicely for their offer and provide them with a bit of advice (try posting it on a site where free WordPress themes are distributed) and wish them the best of luck. Though it takes longer than just deleting the designer’s email, it is far better customer service.

Just remember the golden rule: treat others how you wish to be treated. If you want someone to help you down the line, be sure to be nice to others or it may not happen. Treat your customers (your readers) well and they’ll continue to treat you well by referring others and coming back to you for whatever you offer as opposed to someone else (your blog instead of another blog on the same topic).

Two new posts on the pipeline that will appearing Friday and Monday respectively:
Customer Service & Blog Networks
Customer Service for Job Applicants

One Response to “Customer Service & Bloggers”

  1. Service Untitled » A little customer service tip for bloggers. - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Mar 28, 07 at 4:21 pm

    […] Then, at the bottom of the email, I throw in a little note: This is *not* an automated message. I try to have this email represent what a little thing that makes a difference is and how even bloggers can practice great customer service. […]