Steve Newson posted a thought provoking article yesterday examining the return on investment for blogging. He linked to a post on markoos out and about where a software vendor found a post about its software and engaged in a very customer-friendly discussion via the comments. Steve’s point is that a large part of the return on investment for blogging is the goodwill generated thereby.
Even though there was not a perfect resolution to the problem discussed in the above example, the fact is that a software vendor set up a process to monitor blogs for posts about its product and came to the customer to try to be helpful. Think about that for a second. Instant goodwill.
I think Steve has hit the nail on the head. Amy Gahran feels the same way about Craig Newmark’s blog responses. Part of the reason I love Technorati so much is because Dave Sifry threw me the 99 yard pass when I had some (now resolved) indexing problems last year. This sort of goodwill is a win-win. The customer (and other customers and potential customers who read the exchange) feels genuinely important and the company builds goodwill, which translates to referrals, postive press and, most importantly, customer loyalty.
It’s not just Steve, Amy and me who are wowed by this sort of pro-active response. It’s everyone who reads these conversations and others like them. That kind of goodwill is a very good return on investment.