I recently posted some comments on a vendor blog (*) about using Twitter in Customer Service.
The post was relatively weak in content, high in marketing buzz and I said so in the comments in addition to asking questions to further the conversation. You know me, I can stand back and watch a perfectly good debate go to waste. The vendor then answered my comments with a short marketing statement but no answers to my questions.
Shortly after my comment posted (they did not have monitored comments, good point for them), I used Twitter to invite people to the conversation. I tracked via bit.ly the number of visits that my tweet (and RT, since it was RT five times) brought, and it was close to 120 visits to their blog. A few people who came commented, adding that my questions were valid and that the vendor should answer them.
The vendor deleted the comments that said that my questions should be answered. I replied to their response, raising more questions and providing more cases. Again, people asked for answers to my questions, and the vendor deleted their comments.
Someone noted that the vendor was deleting the comments and called them on it – to which the vendor offered the following response:
To clarify why some comments are being deleted from the Vendor_Name Blog, the Customer Service Experience section of this blog is for conversation regarding what’s hot in the market, best practices and industry trends, not for product promotion from Vendor_Name other companies. For companies that would like to debate specific products there are plenty of 3rd party blog sites to do so. For those who would like to know what is going on at Vendor_Name and to specifically discuss our product and integrations, please visit the What’s Happening at Vendor_Name section of the blog.
Thanks to everyone who has posted valuable and appropriate discussion points.
Essentially the vendor was saying that they thought that a short message that said “Please answer the questions posed by Esteban” was promoting someone else’s product.
I am a big supporter of no-moderation comments followed by deletion when necessary.
However, in this case, it was not only un-necessary to delete them but it was also wrong. The questions were nothing more than amplifying the conversation, asking the vendor for more details on their product and trying to learn more. What else could a vendor ask for than 5-6 people asking them for information on their product or ideas? Isn’t that the idea behind creating and using the blog anyways?
I wish I had a virtual rule to slap the wrist of this vendor and have their attention to tell them what I think is a sine-qua-non quality of creating a community: respect. You may not like or agree with the comment, but short of being spam or abusive, you have to let it stand. Period. There are no exceptions here. You cannot build your community by silencing its members. Very quickly the remaining the members will depart.
I won’t go back to this vendor’s blog, nor will I continue to follow them on Twitter. It is up to them to gain my trust and respect back by taking appropriate actions and letting everyone know about them. I already reached out to them, and they scorned me. Their turn.______________________ (*) I don’t mention any names when posting negative entries in my blog. I am not doing this out of spite, I am doing it to further the conversation via a bad example. Their names do not change the nature of this conversation.