There is no doubt that when companies decide to start an external blog they will have a number of worries. What if someone writes negative comments about our products or services? Do we have enough time to keep the blog updated with new posts every day? All these worries are understandable and sometimes enough reason for companies to pass on blogging (at least for the time being). This is not the end of the world because if you don’t believe you have enough interesting stuff to share with you customers or that you don’t have enough time to keep an updated blog – don’t! Having said this, one thing to always keep in mind is that, regardless of your company has a blog or not, there is one thing you can be sure of: YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU! This means that somewhere in the blogosphere there is probably a community that are discussing the level of service you company is providing. And unless you (through monitoring tools) keep yourselves aware of this it can have some devastating consequences as was the case for The Kryptonite Bike Lock Company. This company is a textbook example of what happens if you ignore the power of the blogosphere. The short version of the story is:
1. On September the 12th 2004 a guy posts on bikeforums.net that he can open his Kryptonite lock with a Big pen.
2. The next day another blogger posts a video of himself opening the bike with the pen – and thereby making the rumour reality.
3. The news about the Kryptonite lock was quickly posted on several blogs but the Kryptonite company remained silent.
4. A few days later the story made it to the New York Times who wrote the article “The Pen is mightier than the Lock”. This finally made the company respond with an official statement.
5. The fact that Kryptonite didn’t respond to the scandal being discussed in the blogosphere gave them a very bad reputation among its customers.
6. At the end of this ordeal Kryptonite has been forced to replaced 380.000 locks worldwide.
So a lesson to be learned from this case is that word of mouth also happens when people have something negative to say – and blogs are the perfect medium for spreading word of mouth. But instead of being silent companies should use the negative comments to react quickly and turn the negative comments into positives by showing their customers that they care, listen and take them seriously.