The Bloggers Are Out To Get You

Writing about bloggerseffect on customer service is fun. Reading about it is even more fun. Lots of links in those two sentences. The first sentence contains links to where I have talked about bloggers’ effect on customer service or more specifically, issue resolution. The second sentence are links to posts about Tom’s experience with The Geek Squad.

Some companies actually do monitor the Internet, including the blogosphere for mentions about their company. HP does. does. Automattic does. And we now know that The Geek Squad does. These are just companies that I have written about and can recall – I’m not even looking too hard to find companies that do.

Some companies believe the bloggers are out to get them. Companies that think like this are usually under the impression that blogs are not professional and have very little influence. They think that every blog is like some teenagers’ LiveJournals where they talk about their friends and what they happened to buy at mall the previous day. This couldn’t be further from the truth and not even all teenagers blog like that.

The thing is, that blogs are an overgrowing medium. Individual blogs are getting more traffic. Blogging networks are getting bigger. Blogs about particular subjects are getting easier to find. Posts about a particular subject are getting easier to find.

If your company gets featured on TechCrunch, well over a hundred thousand people will see it. Your product featured on Engadget and/or Gizmodo? A few hundred thousand more people will read about it. Obviously, not every company or product is featured on such a blog, but for the ones that are, it can make a big difference. If you get a good review, it’ll be good for business. If you get a bad review, it will almost certainly be bad for business.

Expand the scope a bit further.

Read about Seth Godin’s experience at Radio Shack. He wasn’t even directly involved – he was just there. At the time of writing, the post has about 10 trackbacks. It has likely been viewed tens of thousands of times. Radio Shack has already taken a hit about it. Popular blog posts are often featured on digg. This may mean tens of thousand of more readers.

What companies have to do is follow stories like these as they develop and deal with them accordingly. It would be too optimistic (and probably impossible) to prevent failures of customer service like these from happening in the first place, so it is best to at least deal with them when they do happen.

Imagine if an executive from Radio Shack posted a message like this one as a comment:

Hi Seth,

Would you mind emailing me with the name of the store you happened to be at? I’d like to talk to the manager and see if we can find the customer and fix the issue. Radio Shack doesn’t support this type of attitude and we’d like to fix the issue.


Generic Name
Customer Service Manager
Radio Shack, Inc.

Wouldn’t that make a difference? It shows that Radio Shack is listening and cares. The exact words could go be spruced by PR or whoever, but you get the point. Doing nothing is what Radio Shack did wrong.

Doing exactly what I suggested is what The Geek Squad did right (see Tom’s post). The founder of the company emailed Tom and said they were working to resolving the issue. The company stayed on top of things and followed up with Tom. His issue was resolved and the Geek Squad turned a negative customer service experience to a positive one. I’m sure Tom will tell the story quite a few times (heck, even I will) and think about The Geek Squad when he needs his computer fixed.

So why aren’t companies listening? They should and it isn’t hard to do. More about Tom’s experience as well as the Radio Shack experience later this week.

6 Responses to “The Bloggers Are Out To Get You”

  1. Glenn Ross said:

    Nov 14, 06 at 9:28 pm

    Because the world is not simple, last winter when I needed digital recording equipment the Geek Squad sent me to my local Radio Shack where I received legendary customer service.

    Neither Seth’s example nor mine, is probably a true picture of customer service at Radio Shack, but the blow to Radio Shack’s image is a thousand times worse than my example of legendary customer service.

    Reminds me of the US Forest Service who used to say it takes 300 years to grow a tree, 5 minutes to burn it down.

    Where Radio Shack failed was to make a top-down commitment to legendary customer service. They left it up to their individual managers and franchises resulting in various levels of service.

  2. Service Untitled » Geek Squad and Customer Service - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Nov 17, 06 at 12:51 pm

    […] On Tuesday, I wrote about how the bloggers were out to get you and how some companies do a great job at working with bloggers while others do not. I said I would focus a post on Tom’s experience as well as the Radio Shack experience sometime later this week. Today is the day. […]

  3. Service Untitled » A mix of things: interviews, customer experience, and more. - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Jan 26, 07 at 5:33 pm

    […] The article (which is quote good and informative) talks about Tom’s Geek Squad experience and how important it is for companies to monitor what people are saying about them on the Internet (I have talked about the subject a few times before). […]

  4. Service Untitled » Dell watches the blogosphere. - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Mar 14, 07 at 12:12 pm

    […] I’ve talked about the blogosphere’s effect on customer service before, but a few days ago, I got a firsthand experience about a company that actually does a good job of watching the blogosphere. That company is Dell. […]

  5. Service Untitled » Responding to the Good - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Jan 02, 08 at 4:24 pm

    […] I talk a lot about how companies should monitor the blogosphere for mentions of their names – good and bad (if they don’t already). I was having a conversation with a public relations manager from CarMax (interview here) before the holidays and he told me about how he responds to bloggers. […]

  6. Bill Bartmann said:

    Sep 03, 09 at 7:23 pm

    Cool site, love the info.