Quality of Communication Channel Part 2

Quality of Communication Channel Part 2

Guest writer Ryszard Chciuk educates readers about service quality in his blog post on the quality of the communication channel.

Quality of Communication Channel Part 2

When writing about the quality of the communication channel, I mean the definition of service quality worked out by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry in 1985:

  • Service quality is the degree and direction of a discrepancy between customers’ service perceptions and expectations

To improve the quality, we have to close gaps causing the difference between customer expectations and his perception of service. The central gap is:

  • Not Knowing What Customer Expects

In the previous articles about communication channel quality, I presented my view on specification sheets, operator’s manuals, and social media. This time it is about a dealership blog, the interactive blog.

Several years ago, I attended a meeting with the key people from one of my country’s leading construction equipment dealers. We had an exciting discussion on the dealership advantages when the blog function is added to the website. I am summarizing here my thinking about that idea. 

I have checked some web pages of dealers representing the leading world machine manufacturers of machines for the construction industry. I also checked the top manufacturers’ websites. I bumped into only a few manufacturers’ blogs. Blogs’ content I have found on the local dealerships’ websites was mainly a copy of those. Is it possible that a specialist in the manufacturer’s headquarter knows the troubles of the local machine users? Yes, he knows machines, but can he build close relations with local customers through the blog he is running? 

The blog function included in the company website will not shift your marketing from the billboard alike into the engagement one (definitions by Mets Kramer) if it is done traditionally. What do I mean by the traditional way? After you click the BLOG button in the main website menu, you are directed to the billboard containing articles about subjects the dealer or a manufacturer wants visitors to learn about. Do those articles consist of answers to questions bothering potential or current users of construction machines? Yeah, perhaps the dealer thinks so… Is it the best way to practice engagement marketing in the digital dealership? I believe it is necessary to have an interactive blog.

The interactive, thus engaging, a blog is interactive when it has a function of comments. Only Volvo CE NA has a comments function activated among the ten top manufacturers. During the last four years, they published over 90 articles and received circa 70 visitors’ comments. For example, the article “Wheel Loader Operator Tips: How to Load Trucks with Added Efficiency and Productivity” is commented by readers: 

I am so happy I found your blog and I absolutely love your information about wheel loader operator tips how to load trucks with added efficiency and productivity! I liked and it is wonderful to know about so many things that are useful for all of us! Thanks a lot for this amazing blog!!

And another one:

Thank you very much for wheel loader operator tips how to load trucks with added efficiency and productivity, it’s difficult for me to get such kind of information most of the time always… I really hope I can work on your tips and it works for me too, I am happy to come across your article.

I know from my experience how difficult it is to keep the comments’ function activated. The most time-consuming task is blocking or deleting thousands of unwanted commercials, usually sent by bots. But after all, the primary and most important mission is to be in touch with visitors who leave comments. They can often be unpleasant, sometimes enthusiastic, and rarely initiate constructive discussion. But only interactions build solid relations and engagement. 

To be clear, I do not suggest authorizing anonymous visitors to write uncensored comments. 

There are blogs with the function of active comments, and visitors do not utilize them. It also concerns my blog. I published one hundred articles that were seen over one hundred thousand times, and as a response, I got only forty visitors’ comments. I am not very happy with that, but my goal is to share my experience, not monetize my work. And I wrote all articles because it was my desire, not of my visitors. The dealership’s blog should contain articles containing answers to customers’ problems presented on social media (I explained it here) or brought from construction sites by salespeople and aftersales representatives or technicians. Then blog readers will engage, I hope.

The number of manufacturers’ blogs is meager, and it is not easy to find them. The number of articles on existing blogs is not satisfactory. For example, Caterpillar presents only about thirty items on their Construction Blog. More articles they have in the section called Articles by Experts. In my opinion, those are not answers to questions customers are ashamed to ask. 

I am afraid construction equipment dealers neglect the idea of sustaining communication with their best agents – machine operators and another construction site influential personnel. Why do they not use the cheapest channel, i.e., social media and blogs?

How do you learn about customers’ perception of the quality of your sales and aftersales services? What do they think about the quality of your communication channel? Are you already genuinely subscribed to the idea of engagement marketing?

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