I have been doing a lot of external consulting for inhouse teams over the past few months and one of the things that I present to these people is that online communications is underpinned by six elements (some internal facing, some externally visible):
- Transparency – because people can see through spin and secrets have a habit of being discovered. When I was at Yahoo!, internal memos turned up as soon as they were communicated on sites like Valleywag. You really don’t have a choice
- Honesty – see above
- Process – so you can handle enquiries through different media in a timely manner and route them through to the relevant respondent
- Rapid response – to use a dot.com cliché: its about moving at internet speed
- Flexibility – to allow for a rapid response and to deal with situations that don’t easily fit within pre-defined scenarios
- Integration – because consistency is golden. Years ago when I worked as a marketing contractor for a large credit card firm, we used to have to discount customers interest rates on a regular basis as they would receive a mail drop for a new lower card interest rate and then phone up suitably irate and demand the new rate on their card
When I first saw the news about Microsoft axing the Kin series of handsets, I was surprised. I tweeted Frank Shaw at Microsoft and he came back an hour later with a response in what would have been the early morning Seattle time. Transparent, honest, rapid response delivered.