(HP) Social Media Means NOTHING If Your Internal Processes Are Broken


To: Smart corporate marketers who are including social media / Web 2.0 strategies
From: Your customers

Blogs, podcasts, videos, communities building, social networking, widgets and gidgets and digg and Twitter and the ten thousand other technologies are worth NOTHING if your internal processes are broken.

Forget about how to create, measure and analyze the buzz about your brand. It means NOTHING if your internal processes are broken.

My friend Marianne Richmond details a very frustrating story of how HP is playing games with the education of Sam - a high school freshman - whose HP laptop has been zonked (I think that's a technical word) since November 2007 ..  with no resolution dispute hours with tech support, emails to bloggers, on and on. What adds insult to injury is that this is the company that boasts not 1 or 2 or 10 or 15 or 20 but over 50 HP blogs along with podcasts and other social media initiatives. There is even one about social media by Scott Berg. They all mean NOTHING because internal processes are broken. 

HP, I'd like to introduce you to two of your customers SamSam_richmond and his mom Marianne,  Marianne who are about to go MAC. Well, HP  you might say, the loss of one high school student and his mom .. no big deal. It's not like they are a Fortune 100 company where you might have opportunity for an account with hundreds perhaps thousands of orders.

Oh, by the way, HP if you or one of your 50+ bloggers happen to be listening to this conversation, I forgot to mention one minor detail. Mom Marianne is a highly respected blogger. Her post - HP: Customer Experience Disconnect might influence as many potential customers as that one Fortune 100 account. 

Some times life shows us some unexpected humor this cartoon Gaping_void_love_hate_2 from gapingvoid.com was next to Marianne's post.

Lessons Learned:

  • Social media is more than a well written blog.
  • Social media changes how we conduct business.
  • In developing your social media strategy do not neglect a review of internal processes. How will information be disseminated?
  • In the nano second world of the Internet, internal systems must be developed to ensure rapid responses to questions and problems.
  • Excellent customer service is not a nice to have .. it's critical.
  • Listening in on conversations means NOTHING if you can't take corrective action .. immediately.


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Its pretty obvious to me that HP could care less about their customers....and Sam really needs his laptop at school. I mentioned that to Eric Kintz in an email but all to no avail.

Sam thanks you for taking up his cause!


Posted by: Marianne Richmond on Feb 17, 2008 12:29:13 AM

Hi Toby,

you might want to check out the synopsis of this article from '05 in the Sloan Mgt Review that advocates "multifaceted conversations" so that companies won't waste time on one disgruntled customer:


so, as we can see, companies like HP aren't just coming up with the multi-blog-to-ignore-customers idea on their own. They're getting very good counsel to take just that strategy!

(sorry to hear about Marianne's problems with HP. I've dealt with them in my own ways and am none too happy either

Posted by: Tish Grier on Feb 18, 2008 12:49:29 PM


Thank you for bringing Sam's plight to our attention. I am an HP user and have in the past written favorably about them. I will need to take another look at their effort or lack thereof to put people first before I do so again.

Posted by: Lewis Green on Feb 18, 2008 2:08:28 PM

I think it's safe to say that Dell has clearly done a better job of leveraging the blogosphere in the last couple of years. Two years ago neither had a stellar reputation online, but since then Dell has seriously committed to bloggers, where I haven't seen anyone from HP other than Eric Kintz have any sort of level of interaction with bloggers online.

Good case study, it seems.

Posted by: mack collier on Feb 19, 2008 3:56:48 PM

It must be used in School, colleges and other institutions. Today, Chines students are used to laptop system in school. They are not used in book. This is a interesting piece of information One of the frustrating things about some websites, including many blogs, concerns printing.

Posted by: Chan on Feb 27, 2008 12:34:44 AM

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