Proactive Support — Something from the comments

In my ongoing efforts to bolster Lenovo’s reputation among customers and prospective customers by fixing blogged problems and beefs about our products, our services, and our purchase/delivery process, I have built up a homemade, but very effective “listening post” using Technorati searches on “Lenovo” and “ThinkPad” RSS’d into Bloglines. That’s backed up by BuzzMetrics and BuzzLogic, and so far has been very effective at identifying cries of pain and unhappiness out there in Blogistan.

A week ago Friday, while shopping at my favorite Asian grocery store in Boston (Super 88) my cellphone rang. An unhappy customer had ordered a ThinkPad and was getting mixed signals about the delivery time. This is a common but difficult situation for Lenovo, one that the company is focused on fixing, but for now, remains a crucial pain point in our customer satisfaction.

I took the customer’s information, passed it onto our customer satisfaction team, and by the end of this week the customer had the product in his hands.

Then, this morning, as I ran my daily scan of Lenovo and Thinkpad hits, I found this post on Shel Israel’s Naked Conversations. That post led me to the original Shel post about his issues with his ThinkPad last May, where I posted my cell phone in the comments in reply to another reader’s plea for some way to bypass the usual machinery and get to me directly. Here’s Shel’s post:

“It’s ironic.  Despite my publicly proclaimed faith in my Lenovo Thinkpad, I’ve been feeling this angst in my belly as one, techcentric CEO after another these days shows off their new Mac Pros.  When using the Parallel Software, it runs OSX and Windows pretty close to seamlessly.

But two events have occurred today that will stop me from straying from my Thinkpad monogamy. First, Manish  Hira left a comment here, showing that he too received a new computer after registering complaints about the one he had and the support that at first he was not getting.”

I followed the link in Shel’s current post to this old one from June. There, the user, who apparently found my cell phone number while googling for some relief from Lenovo, had posted about his order and his dissatisfaction. That comment did not get detected by my usual scans. Shel even posted:

“Hey, Dave Churbuck! If you still read this blog, it sounds like a great time to jump in!”

Fortunately, the user took the time to cal me and was taken care of, and then was decent enough to post a comment with Shel noting his satisfaction, but I am very concerned that whatever blog search I deploy is not going to be looking at comments. I know I can subscribe to comments from a specific blog, but I need insights into random comment threads, not just hot ones like Shel’s.

I’ll take this up with the folks at BuzzLogic, which I’ve been beta-testing. Comment search is the next challenge and I hope they can meet it. Any suggestions from those more experienced in blog search, please weigh in.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Proactive Support — Something from the comments”

  1. be very arraid that you’re going to get stalked by head hunters looking for a Veep of Customer Service at Dell, Toshiba or Apple. Be Very Afraid of the sweet smelling carrots. there ain’t decent fish in Round Rock and upper newport Bay freaking catches fire. An the clams from Newport are uniformly fatal if eaten.
    You’re doing well, David. The truck i wrote about last night in my email to you is still at the bottom of a ravine in Rescue being charged to its renter at the daily rate by the rental company.


  2. Hey David.

    There’s no possible way you’ll catch ALL complaints in blogistan or forumland. Search engines might fail, people might not use the words “Lenovo” or “ThinkPad” while referring to a certain problem they had and so on. But may I say you have done a terrific job. For once, the mere fact of having your cell number displayed and asking people to call you (and actually answering, I hope you turn the thing off while sleeping!) talks enormouly about the effort Lenovo is willing to take to please it’s cutomers.

    I have been performing some of the same searches you do and thus found you’ve been there before. But keep in mind you can’t possibly reach every single string about the company out there in the world.

    Which takes me to one of my usual crazed ideas. Why not building up and hosting a hall of shame. Have a public place where people can complaint and show it publicly. Lenovo’s answers should come in “actions” more than comments (I can think of less things more pathetic than trying to indulge ourselves when we do screw up). That way not only will you be sarching for problems but people will have a very public place to rant thus ensuring we will hear.

    Final word: try NOT to go to Dell or Apple 😉



  3. I’ve been following your blog and the one at Design Matters with interest for a while now. How, since we’re not a blog, does the concentrated population of TP users in the forum at and in the TP mailing list fit into your efforts?

  4. Nonny, we monitor as well, although it doesn’t go through the blog filters I use for obvious reasons due to lack of RSS. Our CSAT master, Mark Hopkins, is on Thinkpads pretty religiously and we reach out there as well. Please give me details on the TP mailing list, that could be a godsend.

  5. This is one of the reasons I decided to promote my comments feed more explicitly; I added our (FeedBurner) PingShot service so that Technorati, Google, etc. will get notified whenever it’s updated, so that the content in the comments will be more visible…

    Personally, I’m also relying on CoComment more and more, so that I can see when anyone follows up to posts I care about. (These are normally synonymous with posts I make, but CoComment allows you to also track a conversation without leaving a comment.) It’s a good tool, and has really helped me stay engaged once I start chatting with someone.

    –Rick (one of an apparently growing number of ThinkPad-for-life customers)

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