We all know examples of companies that are tuned in and companies that are tuned out. A few months ago I pointed out how tuned out Delta airlines is even though they have a pretty active blog.
I have another example of a tuned-out company: Williams-Sonoma. A couple of weeks ago, I blogged on my foodie blog about a bad experience I had at the Williams-Sonoma store. Since then no less that five other people from around the country have left comments about their similar experiences.
A truly tuned-in company would be monitoring the blogosphere and almost immediately be alerted to any mention of it's name, url, etc. This capability is not just for the big boys. Anyone can set up the same thing for free using a few search engines, Google Alerts, and RSS. A truly tuned-in company would have tried to contact me to ameliorate the problem, particularly since it appears their customer-service problem is widespread.
DId I hear from Williams-Sonoma? Nope. Tuned Out.
Let me emphasize this: This is how little companies can eat a big company's lunch.
It costs nothing to set up a good reputation monitor except a little time. It takes only a few minutes per week to use it. When you find someone who has said nice things about you, thank them. When you find someone who has had a bad experience, here is your chance to fix it - and even turn the situation around - before any real damage is done. With a little effort, you can even turn that disgruntled customer into a raving enthusiastic fan.