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Blogging is the new customer service (for big companies) November 8, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Business.

There are several companies that are infamous for their terrible customer service: Apple, Google, [all of the] Telcos, and Dell. I don’t think these companies place a high value on their customer service department, because they are more worried about getting as many customers as possible as compared to keeping the customers and treating them like they deserve: like your boss. At the end of the day, your customers are essentially the ones writing your paycheck; your customers are literally the people that make or break your company. These companies I listed already have a huge market share: they’ve done the work to get to that place, so why should they care if they lose a customer or two due to bad service, right? Wrong.

Mark Cuban wrote about customer service in a recent post on his blog, and I completely agree with what he has to say about the CEO putting himself in the shoes of his customers. If you wouldn’t use the product that you are selling, then why are you selling it? (Paul Graham talks about this too). In his post, Cuban writes

There used to be a saying that happy customers might tell one person, but unhappy customers tell 20. In the internet age, one happy customer might make a note in their blog or forward an email. An unhappy customer, starts a blog, writes about how unhappy they are, takes out an ad on search engines to let people who are looking for the product know how made they are, starts an email forwarding chain asking people to boycott the product, does a Youtube video about it and games Youtube to make it one of the top 10 most viewed videos…. You get the picture.

Yes, I sort of get the picture: when you are a small company (ESPECIALLY a web 2.0 company) having great customer service can be one of the big factors for your success. Blogging has taken customer service to a new level: it becomes personal and public. Ok this is so cliche, but I will just use Robert Scoble as the golden example. I remember a while back I had a personal vandetta vendetta against MS (I don’t know why… I use their OS like 12 hours a day :p). I wrote a comment to one of Scoble’s post about Microsoft, and I received an email from him asking for further thoughts from me. I felt like I had a voice, like I was somebody; even though it probably had no impact on any of Microsofts business decisions, it had a psychological effect on me. Every time I opened up my laptop thereafter, I loved it to death, and I owe it all to Robert Scoble :).

Anyways, I still haven’t written a single post about anything that I really do for work. I wrote a while back that I was thinking about it: well, I’m still thinking about it. Mark Cuban uses it as his platform to vent and also to promote all of his ventures; I don’t know if I can see myself doing that. But then again… Things change. I am going to the blogging seminar by SixApart on Monday, and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say about corporate blogging.

One thing I will say: in the future, when I am hiring employees, I am going to have a very weird application. The only question right now that I know will be on it is this:

“Do you ski?
If yes, or even no, do you have a cabin in Tahoe that I can stay at?”




1. Stephanie Oates - November 11, 2006

If you, at your young age, already understand that the key to your business success lies in the hands of your customers, then I am confident that you will go as far as you desire.

I enjoyed both this blog entry and your November school essay; your writing provides such a window into your world. You may be behind on the reading you could have done between 6th grade and now…but I would maintain that you figured “it” out much earlier than most. Perhaps you also wouldn’t have gotten as much out of your reading list back then, either, as you will now at this point in your life.
Our mistakes often make the biggest impact on our future (wiser) choices.

I’d be honored to work for you someday; the ultimate irony and blessing! And, yes, I do have a condo at Tahoe at your disposal…

(Pssst: The word is “vendetta.”)

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