Corporate Blogging: How Many Worms are in Your Can Man?

WELL, THE BIG NEWS this week is that Dell has launched their first corporate blog, one2one. This is a wonderful case study for businesses around the world to follow from day one. Can a blog improve a significantly tarnished public image? Not too long before Dell gave birth to one2one, the Interent was flooded with flaming Dell laptops and poor customer service rants. Still, they are stepping out from behind the curtain to take it on the chin and start an open dialog with their customers and critics. Is this a good thing? If done properly and with a sincere desire to improve, then I can’t see why it shouldn’t be applauded. Of course, trust-building takes time; and die-hard critics of Dell will more than likely require a significant amount of time to cool their jets.

On the day of Dell’s one2one launch, Steve Rubel, Jeff Jarvis, Robert Scoble and Shel Holtz all chimed in with advice for the computer giant. So, if you were running Dell, what would you do? Here are my top 5 suggestions for them:

  1. Admit that this blog is an effort to improve a customer service model that has been inadequate in the past. There’s no shame in that. It would only be shameful to pretend that there hasn’t been a customer service problem in the company.
  2. Talk openly and in dialog with readers. Don’t give us a guided tour of the empire – let us sit down with the people inside of it and have real conversations.
  3. Use the blog to listen as much as you use it to talk. Listen especially to critics and take notes, make charts and fix stuff. Their problems are real – it’s not a conspiracy.
  4. Keep us posted regularly about how you are changing the things that are justifiably criticized on the blog. Disgruntled customers don’t want to simply be heard, they want to know how the problem will be resolved and what is being done so that it won’t happen again.
  5. Have fun! Don’t get bogged down in the haters’ agenda. Respond appropriately to them, but balance your conversation with a positive vibe. Show us cool stuff and let’s get to know each other a little better.

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