July 24, 2008

Can’t Win For Losing, I Guess [9:24 pm]

On the other hand, when Comcast is “paying attention,” it *is* a little spooky: Complaining Bloggers Have a Cable Company’s Ear

Comcast is not the only company trying to reach out to customers online. Using the social messaging service Twitter, Southwest Airlines answers customer questions about ticket prices and flight delays, Whole Foods Market posts details about discounts, and the chief executive of the online shoe store Zappos shares details of his life with 7,200 “followers.” Many other companies also monitor online discussion groups.

But Comcast is going an extra step by talking back, contacting customers who are discussing the company online.

Odds are they are complaining about Comcast. The company was ranked at the very bottom of the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index, which tracks consumer opinions of more than 200 companies. Hundreds of customers have filed grievances on a site called ComcastMustDie.com.

[...] Brian D. Solis, who runs a public relations firm, FutureWorks, that specializes in social media, said companies like Comcast are “taking what used to be an inbound call center and turning it into an outbound form of customer relations” that can also help spot problems before they get out of hand.

Still, others agree with Mr. Dilbeck, the University of Washington student, that the online outreach is annoying. “Comcast Is Watching Us,” declared a blog called Contempt for the World in February, when Mr. Eliason started wading into the comment sections of blogs.

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