Response to “will all be contacted?”

In response to William’s question about my last post. He asks: “will each contact be called to tell them the product is defective?” Of course, if you have a hundred customers or twenty, direct contact is practical and obvious. But increasingly companies with many more contacts are finding that they can communicate urgent information directly with them.

For example, most food stores and chains have customer loyalty cards. The inducement to get them is very significant because the price difference for card holders vs. non is pretty great. But when you register you give them your email address. One of them, Fred Meyer in the Northwest, as I recall, used these email address and mail addresses to contact customers who had purchased a specific item that was subject to a recall. With these cards, they know exactly who bought it, when they bought it, and can data mine easily to find out the lot number of the product so they can target very precisely the recall information.

With Facebook and Twitter replacing email for a great many people, in some respects this becomes even easier to get the word out quickly. Because while emails can be forwarded to groups very easily, Facebook and Twitter and most other social media channels are designed specifically to facilitate sharing of information on the network.

So yes, directly, indirectly, through networked contacts, and through taking advantage of the massive amount of data being collected, more and more companies can interact directly with those involved. My point is that they should, as many are, take advantage of these to engage these customers and important contacts in an on-going conversation. Then, when something bad happens, the conversation goes on but with some heightened intensity.

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