How To Approach Your Reputation With Online Content: Dell Hell Part 2

Posted on October 10, 2011 by

As “Why Online Reputation Engagement Is Vital For Your Business: Dell Hell Part 1” explained, the importance of establishing and maintaining your business’s online reputation is crucial for the success of your brand. Dell went through a public relations nightmare, but this is just the beginning of what happened next. The important part to this example is how Dell refused to let the negative review/content from destroying their name. Instead, they chose to take the criticism and negative feedback as a learning opportunity to listen to their customers and implement a reputation management strategy that not only was engaging with consumers, but also a strategy that worked to provide transparency throughout their brand.

So how exactly did Dell begin to go about changing the way consumers perceived their business? According to Jeff Jarvis, the angry customer who posted the initial “Dell Hell” blog says that Dell learned to listen and “they ended up seeing the value in listening to and ceding control to customers. They reached out to bloggers; they blogged; they found ways to listen to and follow the advice of their customers. They joined the conversation. That’s all we asked.” In fact, Dell ended up earning the forgiveness and respect of Jarvis back again. Jarvis posted this on his blog on October 17, 2007, explaining in detail exactly what he saw in Dell that caused his change of heart:

Dell realized that engaging in the conversation wasn’t just a way to stop blogging customers like me from harming the brand. We, the customers, bring them great value besides our money: We alert them to problem. We will tell them what products we want. We share our knowledge about their products. We help fellow customers solve problems. We will sell their products. But this happens only if you have a decent product and service and only if you listen to us.

Keep the following three concepts in mind when implementing your online conversations with customers. Below are the first three pointers, taken from the 95 Theses “Cluetrain Manifesto“:

1. Markets are conversations
2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors
3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice

(Video) Dell responds to Jeff directly; correcting the issue with the laptops and keeping their customers happy

Establishing a genuine relationship with consumers by listening first and selling second is key. So you don’t see a direct correlation with your company’s ROI analysis and marketing reports that state your customers bought in to your business because of your online content and online reputation strategy, that is not the idea. Customer service and an excellent online reputation (listening first) help drive consumers to your ROI/selling points (selling second).

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