Friday, 9 October 2009

Fairplay to AOL for showing they are listening

Listening to consumers.  Something that brands should be doing a lot more of than is readily evident most of the time.

No self-respecting PR department would dream of not having a press clippings service, so that they come in of a morning to a round up of where their company or brands have been mentioned in the (printed) press. Yet now that an awful lot more of the written word and opinion is online  it never ceases to amaze me that so many companies aren't employing proper buzz monitoring.

Which makes it all the nicer to find examples of companies that are paying attention.  Two such examples fell in my lap today.

Earlier in the summer I had a big rant about AOL holding my email account and my contacts hostage after 13 years of loyalty to them.  All points I made wittingly and stand by based on the information I had at the time.  Today, a very nice chap called David from AOL rang up, explained that my blog post had come to their attention, he had looked into the correspondance that I had had, and wanted to apologise that I had been mis-informed by their client service operator and could actually terminate my dial-up agreement but keep my .com AOL email address that I've had since 1996.

Unfortunately for AOL, I have duly spent 3 months migrating over to my previously under-used Gmail account, so their timing was a little off, given the time I've invested in doing the transition. David was awfully nice about it, and sorted my dial-up termination there and then (it was on my jobslist for this weekend). And I can still keep my AOL accounts in case there are still odd things I subscribed to using that address that I've missed. He then emailed me to confirm everything we discussed, to apologise once more for the confusion that had arisen and to confirm that the customer service teams had been updated on proper process.

What was a very negative situation has been turned around into a more positive one.  Which is exactly why brands should be listening. It doesn't need to be difficult. It doesn't have to take a lot of effort to turn a situation around.

Whilst I am not about to re-migrate everything back again, my opinion of AOL has been redeemed somewhat and now I have a nice example of a brand that does listen to share with friends, colleagues and the future participants of the digital training courses I run.

We'll also award Comscore (US based digital measurement giant) points for listening today. Within 5 minutes of me sending out a tweet regarding an email I had received from their competitor, Nielsen, about the proposed UK digital planning system, and mentioning them within the message, they were following me on Twitter.

Shame Nielsen haven't managed to respond to 2 emails I have sent to them since they updated their blog monitoring website BlogPulse a few weeks back, asking why the Blogpulse stats section which I used to follow almost daily had stopped working / being updated.  Nul points for their listening skills then, which I find rather ironic given that they offer buzz monitoring as a service.  Doh.

Nielsen are in good company though as T-Mobile have yet to notice my rant a month ago about their appalling customer service despite me linking the article directly to their Twitter account, and shouting about their failure in a wide range of digital channels at my disposal. Fail yet again.

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