Posted February 29, 2008 9:18 am by with 10 comments

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Lenovo’s David Churbuck is on the social media frontline for the computer manufacturer. Every day he engages customer gripes which range from flaming batteries, dead pixels, and even the company’s Chinese government involvement.

Having interviewed Churbuck for Radically Transparent, I already knew that he has a wealth of common-sense advice for Fortune 500 companies who wish to engage bloggers and other citizen journalists. So, I’m excited that he’s shared some of his wisdom with Jeremiah Owyang–who graciously gave Churbuck space on his blog to share his thoughts.

In partly pedantic jest, I suggested the type of topic I’d like to discuss is: contravening corporate policy by privately resolving a blogged customer support issue and having the blogger publicly state the solution and thereby set a precedent for all future complaints

And from there, Churbuck dives into a great example of how appeasing a blogger’s gripe needs careful consideration–especially if it might set a new precedent on your company’s refund/return policy.

  • The power of blogging definitely is starting to have a big impact on corporate america of late. A lot of product marketing analysts are following blogs lately. Blogs penetrate deep into educated customer bases.

  • Appeasing complaints does not always mean a seismic shift in corporate policy. I believe that attention,
    acknowledgment of of the problem and a sincere attempt at resolution is the more powerful than money.

  • I think you are onto a hot, and much needed, topic. It is gospel that there are always (at least) two sides to every story – we just tend to forget it in the heat of the moment. Thanks for the book.
    As a sample of one (for what it’s worth) I find blogging as a wonderful outlet to tell the world (who probably never sees it) of frustrating experiences – those that the script-driven operator at the bank could not understand, or the support person in Pakistan. When you can’t pierce the “system” to get the service you need – blog. My reaction to problems makes me believe that blogging grounds could be ideal hunting grounds for businesses – but only if they are prepared to deal with what they may find.

  • It is very interesting how such big companies are paying attention to blogs in order to manage their reputations. In my eyes a very smart move.

  • PS3

    The “system” that Sam refers to seems more and more to be a first tier of phone operators who know very little about the organisation/product but are good at protecting the second tier…the people who you really want to speak to.

    Blogging is a great idea, but how do you get the organisation to see what you are saying? How do you bring them to your blog?

  • I think blogging would really benefit companies that were looking to establish themselves as customer service leaders in their industries. To really know what the customer feels without having to send out surveys, or annoying phone calls could really advance their position.

  • Andy – I think what they all need is your reputation management services. Do you recommend caving in to bloggers? I’m sure the answer depends on the scenario.

  • @Jayson – Yeah, it really does depend on the situation and the potential impact on your brand.

  • This is really tough. I deal with this occasionally in my job for an online retailer. Is it customer service? Is it marketing/PR? Is it management? It’s hard to say who should deal with things like this, and when the wrong person does, it can be ugly. Unfortunately, it’s terribly difficult to create a policy that’s easy to apply across all the levels of a company, even at smaller levels. I’m definitely interested in seeing more on this topic.

  • blogging is indeed a powerful tool to reach very targeted and very specific audiences. most advertisers and marketers capitalize on this.