Last Friday I tried to get from Reading to Marlow on the train. Normally this is a relatively simple journey, changing at Maidenhead since Marlow is still on a branch line. But what I didn’t reckon on was First Great Western having trouble with their main line equipment.
The British trains are notorious in their lack of time-keeping, delays and cancellations. It is an infrastructure that is extremely heavily used, with much needed repair-work always scheduled for weekends. Also at the moment Reading Station is undergoing a transformation, as it expands to cope with its increased demand as the second busiest junction in the UK (next to Clapham Junction). All this needs to be done while the station is in full use, and inevitably problems occur that inconvenience passengers.
I had found out which trains I needed to get me to Marlow in time for my radio interview. Unfortunately the main line trains were running so late many were cancelled or rerouted to catch up with the schedule. This included the train to Maidenhead that I needed. First Great Western weren’t concerned because the next train was only in 15 minutes time and I could catch that one, never mind that my connection to Marlow had been scuppered.
Fuming, I tried to calm down by going into blogging mode to compare the poor customer service First Great Western had provided with a neglected business blog.
Missing posting times does not reflect well on a blog. There may have been plenty of well-meaning excuses by the author why they have not been regular with their input, but the reader doesn’t know that, all they see is an old post with a date from some months ago. The distinct lack of posts reflects badly on the blog and the business it represents, as it suggests a lack of commitment and reader appreciation. Visitors require new content to keep them happy, notwithstanding the search engine spiders; they do not tolerate an absence of reading material when they expected some to be there.
You never know who will visit your blog at any time. Therefore if there isn’t any up-to-date content for any potentially important visitor to read, not only will they failed to be impressed, this may result in a missed opportunity for doing business. Blogs are an excellent medium for allowing you to express, explore and describe your business more fully than your website can accommodate. Here is the chance to show potential customers all the extra, fascinating parts of your business and what it does in a freer, more expansive mode, so don’t fail to provide regular updates to keep yourself ahead of the game.
A lack of service provision can easily upset users so much they can abandon everything and leave, never to return. The failure to provide an adequate service does not reveal how much the business cares much for its customers, and not communicating with them in a regular manner gives the impression that they don’t consider their custom worth while, nor their opinions or preferences. Not only do blogs provide that extra information that could sway a customer’s decision towards a more favourable position, it also can be used for market research, feedback and interaction purposes. Today’s internet usage expects customers to be able to leave their own input into a business’s communication strategy, through the comment section combined with social media interaction and mobile phone apps. Businesses should welcome this exchange of ideas and information with open arms.
Lack of communication doesn’t help anyone. It is important to be transparent, clear and pertinent with your messages. Just saying sorry and not providing any form of recompense or added value does not stand any business in good stead. What may be considered a suitable alternative could be interpreted as a poor substitute, since the disrupted needs have not been satisfied and the inconvenience still continues to breed resentment and additional problems. A blog can become an archive for frequently asked questions, solutions to previous problems and case studies for examples of past successes and happy customers. This content can be brought out and dusted down before being presented in a more attractive and relevant way, knowing that its past performance has succeeded before and its solutions will help solve the situation. And since a blog can act as a reference point, customers can be easily directed to its pages to find the information they require without wasting their time elsewhere.
A neglected business blog gives the impression that the company is not trading successfully, that business is slow and things are not going very well. The opposite may be the reality, since it is usually due to lack of time that results in the absence of blog posts. But the readers don’t know this, and their brains are not wired to think in that direction, as all they see are old posts they’ve read before. It is important to plan ahead and include regular blog updating as part of your everyday marketing strategies, combined with a healthy editorial calendar, if you are to maintain visitor and search engine interest, thus ensuring your blog’s success in the future.