Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Power of Naked Conversations

It's kind of exciting when you get a concrete indication that somebody - a real person - has actually read your blog! Exciting and maybe a little scary too, because you never really know what goes on "out there" in the blogosphere.

So, consider how excited I was when I got two (2!) independent responses from Salesforce.com people to my last posting: one comment to the post directly by Jon Mountjoy, the Developer Force Community Manager; and one from Jesse Lorenz, a Force.com Technical Evangelist. When I said: "I think Salesforce.com employees could do a better job of monitoring their discussion boards, I had no idea they would find out about my discussion posting from my blog! And here I thought I was merely ranting into the ether; the great big dummy load in the Internet Sky that absorbs all inputs and returns nothing but the warm feeling in the pit of my stomach when I write.

I had another "Twilight Zone" experience after my Road Warrior Stories posting last summer. Nothing immediate happened at first, but the next time I happened to fly on Continental Air Lines I was mysteriously upgraded to first class! I had no miles, no status, but mysteriously I was in the front cabin. Go figure.

It's almost like some companies proactively search the blogosphere, looking for user stories - unhappy ones - where they can intervene to turn a potential detractor into a promoter. It is really good business: a detractor is twice as likely to kill a sale than a neutral, and promoters give you an extra 50% boost. It usually does not require moving mountains to resolve their issue either: a couple of pointers into your documentation stack; a short email message; or a free upgrade. Small warm fuzzies from large, impersonal organizations have a huge impact.

So, despite my poor experience in Cleveland last summer, I'm no longer a Continental detractor. And those two responses from Salesforce guys actually got me cooking again on my NetPromoter experiment. I'm over the hump and rockin my way to a cool little application in the force.com universe. And, for some strange reason, there are more responses to the postings on their developer boards now than there were before. Kudos guys, may the Force be with you!

1 comment:

Grant Ingersoll said...

Hey Jeff,

There are even companies out there that sell blog monitoring software. For instance, Scout Labs (http://www.scoutlabs.com) does exactly this kind of stuff. They not only monitor who is talking about you, but they can judge the sentiment of the conversations as well.

As they say, it used to be "Buyer Beware", but in this day and age, it is now "Seller Beware".

I've done several reviews of companies and services on my blog (http://www.grantingersoll.com), and I'm always amazed at the feedback I get from people and how it shaped their mind, although I have yet to hear from the companies themselves.