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Great article on Continental’s Community over at Church of the Customer. It just goes to show that those of us out here voicing our opinions on the net are not crack pots – we’re really looking to make our experiences with companies better (which should yield better companies, no?).
A few weeks and months back I blogged about experiences (or lack thereof) with Owens Corning Basement Finishing System and the Publix deli. Last night, I was at my regular Publix talking to one of the regulars who helps me at the deli about the inconsistencies I’m seeing in some of the Atlanta area Publix stores. She said I should call and complain. I responded “Oh, no need – it’s on the Internet.”
The look on her face was almost priceless. I didn’t think it really sank in, so I told her “Seriously – google ‘publix complaints’ and you’ll probably find my website in there. And my email address and phone number is on the same site, so if they need any more info they can just call me.” I guess it was over the top to tell her I posted my phone number on the Internet – the rest of my message was probably lost.
Companies spend a lot of money of focus groups, but they only get answers to very specific questions. Heck – the “New Coke” debacle of the mid 1980s came from a series of focus groups and Goizueta’s fear of Pepsi becoming #1. As I said in the OC post I linked to above, companies have got to put someone in charge of managing customer satisfaction via the Internet. Much like the “Starwood Lurker” mentioned in the CotC post. Whether that person was commissioned to do that is beside the point, the company does not trumpet it – they are simply looking to correct wrong situations.
You know, I was once intimidated by marketing types at the companies I work for. Now I think I have an expansive view of business, markets and the world and I’m not so intimidated just because my degrees are in Computer Information Systems and (soon to be MBA) in Finance instead of Marketing. I would definitely enjoy doing more work in the marketing arena with people like myself who are gung ho about a product and willing to go all out to make our customers equally gung ho.