Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Short Takes: 3.25.08

Here are some interesting XM and online marketing news items and links for your perusal:

  • Just yesterday I noted how the concept of email benchmarks are rather farcical because email metrics vary greatly based on many factors, including the method of collecting subscribers. Today, my close personal friend and email diva, Melinda Krueger, shares some thoughts on email opt-in approaches and dissuades readers from gathering subscribers in unethical ways. The diva says if you make the wrong decision, "Plan on a huge percentage of false email addresses... a lot of spam complaints that will damage (your) reputation with ISPs (and) severely impact (your) ability to get any email delivered... (and) low response rates." (In other words, don't make the wrong decision!)
  • In case we need to be reminded of the power of social media when combined with one disgruntled customer, here's a reminder from Microsoft. Nathaniel sent his broken Xbox 360 to Microsoft for repairs and it was returned in working order. Problem is, when he sent it, the game console was covered with one-of-a-kind artwork and special signatures from developers and others in the gaming community, but it was returned scrubbed clean. He (of course) complained on gaming sites, his story was reposted from one site to another, and the situation (deservedly) turned into a PR nightmare for Microsoft. Some companies might've been so concerned that taking special action would encourage other gripers that they might have simply let it blow over. To Microsoft's credit, they stepped up to the plate and did their best to make things right with Nathaniel. Microsoft only hit a triple, not a home run, because they never addressed Nathaniel's primary concern--what they'll do to ensure something like this won't happen again. (A simple promise to examine and improve service procedures--an effort that is probably constantly underway anyway--would've been sufficient for Nathaniel.)
  • Need any more proof that the Internet is putting more power in the hands of consumers? Check out ServiceGuy.org. If you need a plumber, realtor, or painter and live in one of ten select cities, this site could save you hours. Rather than calling service providers and waiting for them to get back to you, this site provides you with a number to call. Once you do, their automated service simultaneously rings a number of potential service providers and you are connected to the one who answer most quickly. Will this destroy the brands of service providers in these cities? I suspect not--the company that answers quickly, does the job right, and provides the best experience will earn the consumer's trust and repeat business. What do you think?

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