Those of you in customer service know that, historically, a happy customer tells 5 people, while an unhappy customer tells 100. While that was true in the past and likely remains true for verbal communication, Web 2.0 functionality is leveling the playing field. In particular, through Blogging your customers may tell the same number of people – whether they are happy or unhappy.

A recent posting from one of the country’s leading ITIL consultants rained down unsolicited praise for FedEx. Although the source was a personal blog, the estimated 400 member readership contained many IT consultants, contractors and industry professionals – all of whom rely upon carriers for their business.

Now I can hear the naysayers already: “one could complain just as quickly” – and you’re right. That is precisely the beauty of this evolution in communication mediums. Like it or not, your customers will hear all the big customer service stories. It used to be that each bad incident was relatively self-contained. However, this is no longer the case.

Now, emotional (favorably or negatively) customers will log onto any of the growing number of vendor-neutral customer complaint boards, the Better Business Bureau, or industry discussion forums and distribute their thoughts. If customers Blog about it, you will see that incident quickly broadcast to hundreds of readers. The internet is undiscriminating and the communication is immediate. What are you doing to manage this environment? Are you:

  • Monitoring relevant industry and consumer discussion boards?
  • Surveying your largest customer’s for preferred communication channels?
  • Researching customer service incidents online for “vent-sessions”?
  • Offering your customers a direct online forum through your own site?
  • All of the above?
  • Something else?

Today’s leading organizations understand these benefits and challenges. Web 2.0 savvy-leaders are addressing the response in many different ways. You must be aware of these concerns and opportunities – leveraging the processes and related technologies for your benefit and avoiding greater detriment.