Thursday, April 16, 2009

Avoid getting into the fireline…


Amazon is currently experiencing a customer rebellion that has some similarities to the “I hate Siebel” wave that I wrote about in an earlier post. (search twitter on #amazonfail and #glitchmyass)

Basically this is all about the filtering of gay and lesbian authors in Amazons search functionality. I do not have full insight in what has really been filtered and if this has a negative effect on the authors’ book sales or not (and I really don’t want to get into this discussion as there is a lot of coverage already). But I want to analyze the happenings from a CRM 2.0 viewpoint and think of solutions for companies to avoid such massacres by detecting the development early enough and reacting in the right way to avoid the negative PR or even reverse the effects.

In Amazon's case, everybody can easily understand that adult books must be filtered from regular searches and bestseller lists to protect the younger users of this platform. On the other side, I can also understand the furious reactions of the gay and lesbian customers that feel discriminated by such a ‘censoring’.
What really happened here is that Amazon was getting into the fireline between parents and homosexual people. Not filtering the lists would probably have caused similar reactions on the other side…

So how can CRM 2.0 help?

This example shows that the empowerment of customers is advancing. Although we are talking about a minority, the amount of press coverage is massive and might have true negative impact on the Amazon brand. The beauty of a CRM 2.0 strategy is that it aligns a business with its customers. Although this does not make the conflict disappear, it would have signaled the responsible people much earlier.
This ledge could have been used to engage both groups into a meaningful conversation and find the solution that will probably be found and agreed on anyway in the end.

Having engaged the customers would not only have avoided the conflict to raise like it did, it would also have created more loyal customers because everybody would have felt involved and taken care of.

Funny enough, you can buy the domain at the other big arriviste of the eCommerce boom – at EBAY…

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1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the angle on this, Guido. With the bulk of the damage being done on a sunday, and a holiday for some, having a plan in place for tracking and responding would have made a big difference. Even if the response was just to let everyone know that the matter was being investigated.