An excellent article on Consumer Blogging By Mouthshut.com CEO

I found this interesting article on Consumer blogging. Was too tempted to publish it.I sincerely hope all manufactures,builders understand this and start realizing that understanding their customer’s and taking care of them is the only way to stay in business.
 

Faisal I. Farooqui, Founder and CEO, MouthShut.com

The other day, a friend recounted an interesting childhood memory. His father had purchased a washing machine which conked off a few months later. The service centre folks took ages in registering the complaint and even longer coming home for repairs. His mother was livid, not so much with the company but more so with her husband for buying such a “bad” product. This was the case in most homes. People would fume at their spouses for making wrong shopping decisions. Ironically, the ire was hardly ever directed at the errant companies and lethargic service centers. For a long time, manufacturers of goods and providers of service took the consumer for granted and were happy doling out products and services as long as the consumer accepted them, without even a token of respect of his opinion.

Recently, there was a major goof-up on my friend’s airline ticket which he had purchased from a major travel portal. He went online and wrote a review about his experience. A few days later, the travel portal’s Customer Service Manager got in touch with him and resolved his problem. This anecdote not only reveals a major change in consumer attitude but also a shift in focus. .

My friend is an inveterate blogger. He goes to a restaurant and writes a review on it, he buys a cell phone he offers his unbiased opinion on it. There are millions of bloggers like him across the globe, writing product-based blogs on sites like MouthShut.com and Epinions.com. These “reviewers” have their own audience who believe in their experiences and are subsequently affected.

People were always talking but with the advent and emergence of the Internet as a powerful medium, consumers across the world have begun to interact, share experiences and exchange views. Large virtual communities voice in unison their opinions about products and services and millions more out there listen. These opinions today wield the power to make and probably destroy brand reputations. Without doubt, the future belongs to the Internet and this burgeoning breed of Bloggers or reviewers. Fortunately or unfortunately, the consumers are using the Internet more effectively than the brand owners.

Consumers wear their opinions on their sleeves. On MouthShut.com is a consumer who flaunts her credentials with a cracker: “I love to criticize, I love to scream and I love to call a spade just that – a spade. I am not bothered by what you think of me; rather I am bothered if I don’t speak out the truth.” This is the modern consumer, the blogger who is unafraid of reputations and brand size and image. And there are millions like her floating in the virtual space, voicing their opinions and calling a spade a spade.

In this age, when we consider that the consumer is the king, how do brands protect themselves from blogs written by the hard-boiled, honest and at times, virulent consumer?

In my high opinion, there are two ways of going about it. The first and probably the easiest way is to ignore these consumer blogs as a BIG BAD HEADACHE. Reputation be damned.

The second and probably the most effective way is to listen to your customers. Even if you do not treat your customer as king, treat his opinion more reliable than yours since he is the one to have actually gone through the shopping and usage experience…you have just manufactured your product. Notice that when consumers are talking about brands in their “reviews” or “blogs”, there is invaluable insight and feedback. Gone are the days of brand loyalty, it is all about “Quality Loyalty”. So if you do not listen to them now, chances are that your customers might never give you that chance to speak to them again and you would lose him forever and take a few potential ones away too.

Consumer blogging is definitely not a headache. Understanding your customer is your way of saving yourself of an enduring headache – dwindling bottomline. Do not underestimate the Internet and the power it invests in Bloggers. Blogs are here to stay and they are definitely viral in nature. Understand the medium and stand up to the challenge.

I’m sure that by now my friend’s mother must have stopped arguing with her husband for buying a “bad” product and would have taken to product blogging.

Source: Is Consumer Blogging a Big Bad Headache?

Leave a Reply