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July 28, 2005


One might note also that, even if tomorrow Dell were to somehow make Jeff Jarvis happy with them again, those two sales (and the sales of everyone they happened to talk about PCs with) would still be lost forever.

Bad news has been able to circle the world in minutes for ages now. The new thing is that it can penetrate remarkably deeply at the same speed. Fixing PR blunders after they're loose is still just as hard.

All the more reason to _really_ care about customer service from the beginning.

Remember the lifespan of Internet-borne memes, too. I haven't seen the Craig Shergold message in a while, but it circulated for *years*.

Also think about this: with enough Aunt Mildreds and better ways of finding information, screwing over your *average* customer is going to come back at you with a lot more force than the Jarvis episode.

No disrespect to Jarvis, but if my Aunt Mildred is thinking of buying a Dell and twenty other Aunt Mildreds say she shouldn't, that means something much more significant to Aunt M. than if a high-profile but un-Mildred-like blogger says the same thing.

And I do believe things are heading that way.

For a minte I thought we worked in the same building for a second; 'cept I'm in the main TD building in Vancouver...

Blogs don't necessarily help or hinder the spread of stories about bad products or bad experiences with companies; email and traditional web searches are still valid forms; it's just that the RSS spread of these things is more passive on the poster's part.

There's an old business phrase, from long before the Internet ... "Make a customer happy, and he'll tell a friend. Make a customer angry, and he'll tell ten friends."

Today's digital reality multiplies that by a couple of orders of magnitude.

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