This Adweek article on how Dell has improved its image by moving their customer dialogue online is fantastic. In 1999 when we first started monitoring the bulletin boards at Universal we were always fascinated by the amount of information we received. They liked the clothes, they didn’t like that song, they loved the way the band sounded on letterman etc…It became our way of being on the street with our consumers 24/7.
If the customer/consumer is always right – listening to them is always better. It’s interesting to see companies really beginning to embrace social media as a way to talk to their customers proactively. There are still many folks who don’t believe that one comment launched into the infinite world wide web can really matter that much – but it can. Reading about Dell I recalled an article from last year where Target’s press department was caught in the fire when they turned away a blogger as not being “relevent”. The NY Times covered it well.
All it takes is one click of the mouse. Proactively talking and listening to your customers via social media is a good investment to make sure that one click is one that is praising your company.