(photo courtesy de_jack_mamsall)
Holy crap! I am not a “professional journalist” (ie, I don’t get paid by traditional media), but I know a story when I see one.
At a WebEx sponsored breakfast at the Community 2.0 conference this morning, Belicove, of Doba, took his complaints about the company public. Davidson had just given a presentation on WebEx and what they were going to be doing to facilitate community dialogue and opened up for questions and comments.
Belicove’s main complaint came bubbling to the top during a passionate set of questions and comments he threw out at Davidson. His experience, he says, has been terrible. He’s phoned and emailed the representatives from the company multiple times. In fact, just a few weeks ago he had contacted another representative and was told he would be responded to “right away.”
“That was a few weeks ago and I haven’t heard from her since,” he said. “I finally told another representative not to contact me again unless [they] are serious about fixing the issues I brought up.”
When Davidson asked the crowd of community managers and facilitators if they felt they had a relationship with WebEx almost nobody responded. It didn’t seem to be much of a surprise to her, though. Talking with her after the conflict, Davidson mentioned she “wasn’t wild about the lunch session,” which was a similar event where Intuit essentially did a case study on themselves. The difference, and irony of her comment, was that Intuit probably did a better job of engaging the folks at the conference, engaging in a community dialogue, than Davidson did with the WebEx breakfast session.
Much of the breakfast session came off as an advertisement for WebEx. And, although it’s great to be passionate about your company, Chris Heuer of Social Media Club pointed out that there’s a difference between a pitch and an invitation – and invitations work where pitches don’t.
Heuer joined in the “afterparty” dialogue with Davidson, suggesting (1) WebEx start responding to their clients as humans, not as a sales team and (2) the context of Davidson’s appeal should be contextualized. As I looked around the room during the confrontation many people either were smiling or nodding their heads in affirmation and agreement with Belicove’s dissension. The body language of the group seemed to agree with Belicove and Heuer, effectively telling Davidson to stop pitching us on the company and start telling us or giving us something of value.
Admittedly, Davidson’s point was that they are an infant in the community arena. The conceptual separation of customer service and community dialogue gives the impression they still do have a lot to learn. I wish them luck in their learning. And in the meantime, I would have to agree with Belicove, if you don’t do customer service well, focus on that first.
I’d love to hear your take on both the event, if you were there, sponsorship of conferences, or the paradigm between customer service and community dialogue.
Sorry for those of you on RSS that keep getting this post. Chris pointed out a correction and I found a second spelling mistake as well.
[tags]community2.0, community, webex, doba, mikal belicove, diane davidson, chris heuer, sponsorship, conferences, customer service, dialogue[/tags]