Starting To Blog
Starting off slowly will not hurt your corporate blogging adventure. That's one of the lessons I think I've learned, as I've been blogging over the last three years. In talking with other corporate bloggers, clients and running my own blogs at a few different companies. It seems to me that a company does not have to be in a rush to develop multiple blogs for their company. Starting off slowly and experimenting with one strategy is perfectly acceptable. And as various corporate bloggers have learned from Macromedia/Adobe, Microsoft and the Southwest Airlines blog, dipping in your toe and growing organically is probably the best way to learn about blogging and interact with your audience. Each company is unique, even if their industry may not be, therefore its always a matter of culture and personalities as to how fast a company can progress with the number of blogs and how open their blog will be to their audience.
Posted by johncass at July 12, 2006 10:04 AM
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It is best if there is an actual overarching corporate strategy to begin with ;-) Then the empowerment of the customer service rep ( budget, authority, liability insurance ) to actually address a customer's complaint offered via comment and|or feedback ( without being summarily dismissed for showing initiative ) and a process to collect data re: a problem in a systematic way is the logical extension of the open communication loop. If you're C-Suite isn't willing to follow up on customer satisfaction ( your competitors will be happy to 'cause they can read the complaint, too ) then don't begin the blogging charade in the first place. It will only end badly.
Posted by: Ed Dodds at July 28, 2006 7:24 AM
Ed, thanks for the comment. I agree I think it is best to have an overall strategy. However, I've also come across a number of blogger who have told me that strategy and goals are not as important as being in the conversation.
I suppose we'd say that their goal is to start a conversation with their industry peers so as to learn from the experience. Whatever the goal, strategy or purpose is.
Your point about support for blogging has to be there from management, as blogging can quickly hit minefields when the volume of customer queries overloads the existing system is correct in my view. Many company blogs seek to mitigate customer service questions and send them off to existing channels. General Motor's blog and to a certain extent the new Dell blog seek to handle customer complains through other existing channels. However, if the customer just wants to use blogs for customer service questions, why not go with the flow and handle them there.
Ironically, bloggers at more established blogging firms; Microsoft and the Macromedia division of Adobe just did this as part of corporate blogging. However, those bloggers were developers and product managers, and it just seemed obvious to them that you answer the customers question on the blog.
Strange, the new generation of blogs, derived from corporate and PR seem to be missing the boat when it comes to the benefits of answering customer service questions.
Actually regarding Dell, from what I can see to large extent, I think Dell is learning on its feet with its new blog and quickly realizing that handling customer service questions is the real reason for the blog. Or at least I hope so. ;-)
Posted by: John Cass at July 28, 2006 7:40 AM