Beyond Blogs: Moleskine Goes Where the Conversation Happens

Like many media pros, I’m a die-hard fan of Moleskine notebooks — especially their small, unlined reporter’s notebook.

Moleskine notebooks aren’t fancy. In fact, this brand’s reputation hinges almost entirely on quality, and on a vocal, dedicated community of customer evangelists — such as Merlin Mann of the popular productivity site 43 Folders.

Therefore, when sharply worded complaints about Moleskin’s quality and service erupted on the 43 Folders Google Groups forum on Aug. 15, Modo & Modo (manufacturer of Moleskine notebooks) had a pretty big problem.

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.

This story demonstrates the importance of three lessons for all organizations who understand how conversational media can help make or break your reputation…

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE on the Capture the Conversation blog

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