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Beyond blogs: Moleskine goes where the conversation happens

Amy Graham, a conversational media consultant, content strategist, and freelance writer/editor, shares an excellent example of how a company responded to consumer complaints spreading across the Internet.

Complaints about Moleskin’s quality and service erupted on the 43 Folders Google Groups forum this August. Serious stuff when as Amy says “…the brand’s reputation hinges almost entirely on quality, and on a vocal, dedicated community of customer evangelists.”

Apparently, some Moleskine notebooks started falling apart after just a few weeks or months of use. Some owners of these defective notebooks tried contacting Moleskine US, but got no response. Later, it turned out that Moleskin US is not the US distributor for this brand. The official US distributor is Kikkerland Design Inc. But in the meantime, these customers believed Moleskine was ignoring them. Not good.

Clued in by e-mails, Moleskine maker Modo & Modo began checking out the online complaints. On Aug. 30, the company posted a sincere apology on its blog. They offered an explanation of their late response: they’re a small company, and in Italy everyone’s on vacation in August — not a great answer, but an honest one. They also offered clear instructions on how owners of defective notebooks could get their problem addressed.

Even smarter, Modo & Modo posted the full text of this statement onto the 43 Folders forum where the complaints arose. It’s interesting to note that, despite earlier frustrations aired in that forum, all the responses to the company’s apology were positive and supportive.

Great example of getting out and apologizing, if need be, and defending the company reputation. Being there’s so little of it, people love candor.

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