Customer Service

Now here is a lesson in customer service and positive PR that some websites would do well to learn from.  In my last entry I mentioned, sort of “en passant,” that Carter and I had started our website, the long-awaited, much-anticipated “Republic of Bob” on a website called Wetpaint.com.  I referred to my disdain at the editing system and was greeted with the following comment on my blog:

 

“Posted by Kevin @ 12/08/2006 11:47 AM PST

Hi Herb! We’re glad to see you’re using Wetpaint. With regard to comments, you can change the setting to require folks to register/sign in before leaving comments if you so wish. And if you have a moment to let us know where we’re falling short on the editing side of things, we’d love to hear it…we’re always trying to get better. If you want, write directly to kevin at wetpaint dot com. Best, Kevin”

 

I was impressed, since, as you will see (and if you are a Blogdrive user, you probably know, since so many have gone to Yahoo! 360 and elsewhere), I have never been contacted by anyone at Blogdrive except volunteer help-staff on the forums.

I decided to take Kevin at his word and had the following e-mail conversation with him.  I put it in chronological order to facilitate easier reading and took out my home address.  Otherwise it is verbatim.  I will definitely be using them for more things.  If I get a chance I will e-mail Pen, also, about her diet blog.

 

“Dear Kevin,

First of all let me thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment!  I have been with Blogdrive as a blogger since October of 2004 (http://herbthiel.blogdrive.com/archive/1.html ) and have never had one of the owners/leaders/bosses, etc. visit or leave a comment.  They don’t even stop by their trouble forum when there are major problems with their servers unless the customers are preparing to hang them in effigy.  The help forums are usually manned by volunteers, so to see your comment was a welcome surprise and appreciated.  I suppose you found my blog using some sort of “bot” to seek out mention of your site since I don’t have lots of readers, but I do have some loyal ones.

My problems with wetpaint are simple.  I think anyone who has a website, even if it’s free, ought to be able to edit the HTML on it, creating their own backgrounds and changing templates to fit their own whims and fancies.  There is a lot you can do with HTML.  You could also allow some javascripts, which are a lot of fun.  Also, the “easy edit” buttons don’t allow changing colors, text background or any font sizes other than the 3.  Those are the ones I can remember in particular at the moment.

The reason I cc’d Cavtrooper is that he is the other main member at the site for right now and we are something sort of akin to partners, except that he is quite a bit uglier.

I do appreciate your interest and think that wetpaint is pretty cool, just awkward at the moment.  If I didn’t like it I certainly would not have signed up.

Herb”

 

Carter King

“I are not uglier.”

 

Me Back to Carter

Yer feet are smellier too.  Don’t know if you saw the comment on my blog that I am referring to.  I am guessing that Kevin is somebody of a certain amount of import.  Do you think I said it all pretty concisely?

 

Kevin to Me

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the note…we REALLY appreciate any and all feedback from those who use our service.  More often than not, they know our product better than we do.  And they always come up with the best suggestions on how to make it better.

I found your blog through Google Alerts or Technorati…can’t recall which but both do a pretty good job of surfacing Wetpaint mentions.

With regard to your specific feedback, here is a couple of thoughts and what we’re up to here to address them…

HTML editing … when we started Wetpaint, our target was the non-technical person who wouldn’t know HTML from a hole in the wall.  We went about eliminating its need through our WYSIWYG editor.  Our biggest surprise when we did this was the feedback we got from folks who did know how to use HTML.  Man….they really like it (and we agree…it serves some super useful purposes).  We’re working on allowing HTML into Wetpaint.  At the same time, we’re also trying hard to keep someone who doesn’t understand HTML from freaking out when they see it on the site.  At the end of the day, we think it’s much more valuable to get as many people involved in the conversation as possible.  If technical know how limits participation, the technology is doing a disservice.

Javascript … totally agree with that one.  We’re working on pretty much anything that would enhance your ability to customize the site to your specifications.

Fonts … totally agree.  Our next release which is in a couple of days will allow you to change fonts and font sizes.  Font color will come soon thereafter.

Thanks again for the note and if anything pops up in the future, please let me know.  And if you have any specific feature requests, pass them along.

Best,

–Kevin

Wetpaint

Kevin,

Thanks for the response.  It makes sense about HTML (w/CSS) if your target market was people who know little technically but want to join in the fun.  It is perfect for beginners and since you have all of these other changes in the works as well, I think I probably joined at the right time.

Would you mind if I posted our conversation on my blog?  I would like to show people the kind of customer service I got.  I did this with a Nabisco e-mail correspondence I had and it went over really well.  I think that, (when I get time) I will add a link, not only to the Republic of Bob but to wetpaint itself.

Thanks Again,

Herb

 

Hey Bob,

Feel free to post our conversation on your blog and I hope you and your cohort continue to use Wetpaint going forward.  And for the ultimate in sucking up and thanks for adding a link, send me your address and t-shirt size and we’ll deck you out in full Wetpaint paraphernalia, if you’re so inclined.  J

Talk to you soon,

Kevin

COOL!!!

Herb Thiel

 

Me to Kevin

So I better ask again if you want Carter’s info or not.

 

Kevin to Me

Sure…sorry…too little coffee today.

 

End of correspondence.

So I sent him Carter’s info as well.  Now that was nice.  I have always been taught that a pro-active approach to customer service is a lot better way to get and keep customers.

And the Good Book does say, “It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.”

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