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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Using Blogs for Better Customer Service

I had first read about blogs being used as a window for customers to interact with officials of a firm back in 2003. The blog of a firm that I first visited was of General Motors (http://fastlane.gmblogs.com). Currently I see this blog has become a very active place with customers interacting with GM officials on a regular manner. Well talking about GM's blogging story it surely is a double edged sword I would say. GM is having problems - we all know that. It is losing it's market to more competitive players in the automobile sector and customer dissatisfaction has to do a lot with this. Blog has been a good and cheap media by which GM can connect with its customers. But unlike earlier customer complaint avenues, this is one media which is open for anyone to take a peep into what customers are telling of an organizations product or services. If customers are saying good things then it is an excellent marketing media but if they are not then it is an accelerated rumor/bad news spreader. In fact some of GM's competitors would be using this blog as an excellent source of anti-GM marketing.

If I were to go today to General Motors blog and read the customers comments on various GM vehicles and how GM responds to customers then personally one thing is sure, I would never buy a GM vehicle. And I am sure there are lot of people who would feel the same. But then if I know that GM is trying it's best to solve these issues and are successful in doing so then I will take a look at GM again. GM really needs to show it's customers what it is doing to solve their complaints. Of course it not just GM that is having customer problems. Many companies are taking the blog approach to better customer service but though I appreciate the openness of organizations in putting their customer's words open on the internet but then I guess the companies really don't have an option here. You better have a single place for your customers to interact with you than have numerous sites propping up which is impossible to track and respond to. But then once you have the blog, organizations should understand that their job hasn't ended but has just begun. They really have to pull up their socks and listen closely to their customers if they want to remain competitive in the market.
Just having a full writing pad is not enough, someone has to make sense of these writing and take some actions on it. I basically feel that collaborative Web 2.0 tools like blogs are truly making customer the king.

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