My client, Sean Cheyney at Accuquote, sent me an e-mail link today to a thread on the Accuquote blog that was basically an open invitation for customers to openly discuss customer service issues. Not to toot my client's horn too much, but it takes courage to invite people to post whatever they like to your blog comments. Of course, it doesn't end there. Sean and Denise Mancini are both handling the load right now, responding to each comment point by point. I think marketing in this fashion is a huge step in the right direction. We have to show customers that their suggestions don't simply disappear behind a wall of plausible deniability, where nothing of value will be derived from them. We need to take criticism (and praise) from customers and tell them how we're going to use that feedback to improve. It helps make the process more transparent and trustworthy, and it also makes customers stakeholders in the marketing process.
Basically, Sean, Denise and Byron have become ambassadors to the community of folks who will engage in a dialogue about life insurance and their business. That community might be tiny or it might be huge. It depends on a lot of things - how interesting they can make the subject matter, how many people are already interested in it, etc. I'm not sure that the Accuquote folks thought comments would run past 50 or 60 or so. It's good to see they're still responding point-by-point. And who knows how big it could get?