After making my initial post about Blog Potomac, I’ve decided to write something shorter along the lines of customer interaction.
Lionel Menchaca, Digital Media Manager and Chief Blogger at Direct2Dell, had some excellent points during Blog Potomac that deserve some mention in this space.
For one thing, Menchaca started in tech support providing information and support to customers. This experience gave him crucial insight into both the issues from Dell products that were negatively impacting customers, as well as how Dell customer support was causing anguish and frustration.
One of the important themes in Menchaca’s presentation was the need to “listen” to what people were saying. For Dell, learning about what customers were talking about – the core listening stage- helped them to understand the fundamental issues at stake, which in turn helped to drive solutions.
Another important factor for Menchaca was to establish his voice as a blogger, and learn how to connect with other people. Customer support is not only about listening and responding with technical answers, its communicating those answers in a clear, friendly and understandable manner. When its done correctly, the results are going to be worth it.
Of course, managing the dialog you have with your customers not only depends on listening and communicating, but also managing expectations. You have to know the limits that exist within your company, and not risk over-promising and under-delivering for your customers on support issues.
Playing the expectation game also is not something reserved for the customers. Internal managers are interested in the results from customer support oriented blogs. The key here is to make sure that executives and managers understanding that a learning curve exists for everyone. What’s more, people need to recognize that positive as well as negative conversations are going to take place in this environment. As Geoff Livingston would say, “You cannot control the conversation”. However, convincing your CEO or direct supervisor that having “negative” conversations is just as valuable is not an easy task.
When its all said and done, Menchaca mentioned some other challenges that are important for many businesses that seek to establish a blog for customer support:
Lastly, I think it is important to note that if you blog with your customers in mind, and work towards establishing relationships – you can drive improvements in your company’s brand, reputation, product development, and in some cases, customer satisfaction, which is ultimately measured in repeat business and referral business. Dell has proven to be a good industry case study of this approach.