Day Two of spring semester begins clear and cold here at Towson University. People are scooting about, trying to find classrooms and asking all sorts of questions, trying to figure out what to do and where to go. And you should see the students!
I’ve met with all four of my classes now. To make a point about public relations and customer service, I related to one of classes my negative experience with the product quality and technical support of a certain brand of computer I had purchased. Immediately, several students said in unison, “I’ve had the same experience with that brand!” For a couple of minutes we all shared horror stories about the brand.
Then one student said, “Just because you as an individual had a negative experience, that does not mean that the computer company is bad. They are one of the largest and most successful such companies. You just had a bad time.”
Yes, we did. In the past, we would have had little recourse for our troubles. But as in that classroom, so it is in the blogosphere. My one voice adds to another, then another, then another, perhaps thousands more. Special blogs spring up to spread the word. Negative customer service and product quality stories are amplified and repeated.
That’s the point. Organizations who ignore the power of this incredibly powerful force — the blog — will suffer for it. By simply listening to what is being said in the blogosphere, and then participating in a nondefensive way, enlightened organizations can know what is really being thought and said about their products or services. They can participate in solving problems with the very people who they need most — their customers. This simply must be an integral part of any public relations and/or integrated marketing communication program.