Recently my anti-virus software went crazy. It started finding
viruses all over my netbook. After several hours of banging my head
against our kitchen table, with no success in cleaning up the problem,
I turned to my good friend Google for help. There I discovered (to my
great relief) that there was no virus on my computer. Instead, my
anti-virus software had a problem.
I learned this because millions of others were having the same
experience. Because many of them were discussing it online I was able
to conclude that it was a software malfunction that would soon be fixed
by the software vendor.
What I find shockingly sad is the company that makes the software
was silent throughout all this. They posted nothing on their Twitter
account. I saw nothing from them in Google News. Nothing on the company
blog or forum. Eventually (this morning) I found a post on their
support site. I had to dig to find it.
We live in a world where this should never happen. It’s too easy to communicate with our customers to not do so.
This company should have posted to Twitter, FaceBook, their blog and
relevant forums about what was going on. Because their site was being
hammered with traffic, they should have posted announcements elsewhere
like Posterous, Tumblr and Blogger. They could have done a short video
Because so many people were affected by this, just a few posts to
these social media sites would have gone viral. They would have given
people the information they needed when they needed it. A response like
this would have held back much of the negative buzz which has damaged
In fact it might have produced a wave of goodwill by showing the
world they really care about their customers. It would have positioned
them as a company that works hard to give their customers the best
experience possible, even when things go wrong.
If your customers are on the Internet, they expect you to be there
too. You have no excuse for not communicating with them using Web 2.0
tools. If you fail at this you risk losing your customers to those who
do it better.