‘Blogosphere loosens grip on communication controls’ screams one of the headlines in this month’s edition of the CIPR’s Profile magazine.
The article by Torin Douglas describes how large companies are now testing the waters. BT’s chief operating officer John Pettifer is about to start his own blog. It continues:
The decision follows much internal debate and some nervousness in the company’s communications department, because blogs are by definition interactive – a conversation, not a column – and employees and customers are invited to join in the discussion.
It’s interesting that a company’s communications department should be nervous about employees and customers having something to say. The article also referred to the Chief Executive of Carphone Warehouse Charles Dunstone, who’s been running his own blog for a few months now and using it as an opportunity to tell the world how his company is better value than BT.
As a Carphone Warehouse customer, I certainly have something to say. My mobile phone is faulty (it’s actually a design fault) and I want to get it changed. One of their shop managers haughtily informed me that I couldn’t as there are still five months on my 18-month contract. I could get it repaired but there was no loan phone available. I told her that my wife and I wouldn’t be renewing our contracts if they weren’t willing to give us phones that are not faulty. She said there was nothing she could do about it.
At least I could go into the shop and talk to her. I’ve not been able to speak to their Customer Services people by phone (the phone lines are usually too busy). I’ve sent emails and not even received any acknowledgement. So, here I thought was a perfect opportunity to speak to the man at the top.
But no, actually his blog isn’t interactive at all. There is no link that I can see for comments. All we get is a list of Mr Dunstone’s proclamations in reverse chronological order. It might look like a blog, but actually it isn’t. It’s as interactive as the regular receipt of Talk Talk junk mail that lands on my hall carpet.
When channels of communication for customers are restricted to the point of hardly existing at all, an image of the company is conjured up in my mind. It’s an image of someone with their hands over their ears and singing ‘la la la la la’ while others are trying to say something that this person doesn’t want to hear.
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