Southwest Airlines have launched a pretty respectable example of a half-decent, minimally-manipulative, somewhat-entertaining corporate blog. If you know what we mean. This isn’t McDonald’s stupid “Horse Whsiperer” Corporate Responsibility nonsense. For example, we got a kick out of the entry about a bee hive that was found in the tail of a plane that was being repaired and the bee keeper who was brought in to deal with the problem.
However, it’s come under a little bit of fire on the blogosphere for not being customer service oriented. We can’t really fault them for that: the comment section of the Interactive Marketing Manager of Analysis and Reporting’s entry about his son thinking his job is to fly airplanes and eat peanuts isn’t really the place for trying to locate your lost baggage.
Still, with Southwest burying their customer service disclaimer deep in the bowels of their blog, it does perhaps raise some questions that these corporate blogs need to deal with. The advantage to blogging over other forms of print is essentially the connection between a writer and his reader. Blogs, after all, are really nothing more than a toolset that facilitates communication through a large community of readers and fellow bloggers.
Southwest has called their new site a blog and that implies that we should be able to drop into the comments section or shoot them off an email and get an answer: that’s a lot of what blogging is about. But what we want to talk to Southwest about is not just what they’ve blogged, but numerous customer service issues.
It’s a fine line and we’re interested in seeing how companies like Southwest handle addressing customer support issues via their blogs. We wonder if we’ll eventually see corporate blogs with dedicated customer service commenters.