Monday, September 18, 2006

I want to deal with more organisations that listen!

I had an experience this week that personally proved to me that companies who take the time to engage with bloggers can start to truly get to know their customers in a way that database segmentation or direct marketing campaigns could never achieve.

In my spare time, I maintain a travel blog, and I have written about some of the tours I’ve done lately with Explore. My experiences with the company have been entirely positive – the tours I did around Iceland and Croatia with Explore this year were excellent, and I would not hesitate to recommend them to family and friends. Explore tours are well organized, great value for money, FUN, and have a great combination of structured and free time. What really appeals to me is that they get to some really obscure places. I plan to do more Explore tours as time and money allow – and no, they are not paying me to say this!

What impressed me about Paul, the “ECommerce Bod” from Explore who emailed me, was that he offered help in getting me more information if I needed it, offered some information about their affiliate program (which I may or may not pursue, but it wasn’t a hard sell), and shared some personal observations about Lake Bled, Slovenia, where we’d both visited recently. It was clear he knew his stuff. He was authentic – and that’s important.

When I replied, he continued our conversation about the rather scary cable car that scales the cliffs surrounding Lake Bohinj en route to the ski resort that overlooks the entire valley. Talk about great views! He mentioned that the next Explore brochure was coming out soon, and to keep an eye out for more tours. As if I need any encouragement!

I thought it was cool. And relevant and appropriate. It makes me feel like the people at Explore are actually interested in what their customers are saying about their company – good or bad. They talk to me about stuff that interests me, and not in polished corporate speak but with a friendly, conversational tone. The tours themselves are great, but this personal touch, way after the fact, is really refreshing.

He also said he’d keep reading my blog. So, Paul, if you are reading this, thanks for your emails, and I hope you get to do one of the Explore train tours soon.


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