Today in the PrintPlanet forum my feelings were hurt

Part of my responsibilities at Xerox is to search conversations online for customers having issues with their production equipment. I then take that information to colleagues in service, engineering, and marketing so I can help every customer resolve whatever concerns they have.
PrintPlanet is a place where many industry professionals are asking questions, seeking advice, and sharing opinions on digital printers, prepress and workflows, wide format, offset, IT, color management, finishing, substrates… many different topics.
I have always been careful never to bash the competition because that isn’t why I’m involved in the forum. I’m there to help our customers succeed in their business and I am going to do whatever I need to do to make sure they are taken care of. I’m sappy like that. I’ll usually sit out of a conversation if people are responding, but as soon as incorrect information is stated— I make sure the truth is known.
Today I saw a post by a user that stated:
“I am about to purchase one of these two machines, but am looking for help in my decision. There are lots of threads on this subject, but I am hoping to hear from the people who ACTUALLY own / lease either the Xerox 700 or the KM 6501 respond?

And I know I can’t take comments like that personally, but it did hurt my feelings.
It’s a fact: We all trust the word from our peers, more than the companies themselves.
I have always cared about helping customers and being completely honest when I feel a Xerox digital press does not fit their needs. I never want them to buy something that isn’t right—because in the end— they’ll remember that we sold them something they didn’t need. That ruins relationships, and brand loyalty.
I know there can be people on this forum who bad-mouth other vendors to sell their product to everyone under the sun regardless of their needs. Vendor employees can get in arguments with each other, defending their product. It’s all very childish, and disappointing, and does take away from the purpose of the forum— For customers and those considering equipment to share their experiences and help each other make decisions.
What I’m ultimately trying to say—to those out there who are active in the forum posting comments, or just reading— please know that many of us employees have good intentions. We really are trying to help and not pull any tricks. Of course, there are some out there whose intentions are poor, so you always need to be cautious of what you read. But my username is lkl7255, and I’m one of the good people.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts:
Do you feel people who work for a vender should be involved in conversations?

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  1. Ken Mears May 7, 2010 -

    It’s tough not to take that personally, but understand that said person is just trying to get the most unbiased opinion as possible. I have had similar experiences through LinkedIn, and the important part is to constantly try and put as much positive content out there as possible for potential customers to find and help guide them along to their ultimate decision. By interacting on various social media outlets with honorable intentions, you’re doing your part and helping to foster that positive brand loyalty that, in the end, makes all the deference in the world. Perhaps, if you ever come across something similar to this in the future, you could not give your personal opinion but offer to connect said potential client to your own clients for their personal experience with whatever product is in question. This way, you still get to interact with the potential client AND increase your status as “one of the good people!” Keep fighting the good fight. If your intentions are genuine in nature, it will always translate across, no matter what the means of communication are!
    Ken Mears
    VP of Internet Marketing
    Office Automation of Gainesville, Inc.

  2. Lindsay Lamb May 7, 2010 -

    Thanks Ken! Your suggestion about connecting that potential client with current customers is a great idea. From interacting with others through Twitter and various social media channels, I have been able to build relationships with customers whom I know I could call on for help in situations like this.

    For this particular post in PrintPlanet, I did tweet to my followers asking current Xerox 700 users to respond 🙂

    What I’ve also tried doing is sending them a private message telling them if they need anything from Xerox, to let me know. At least they’ll know we are accessible if they need us!

  3. Thomas Bougher May 7, 2010 -

    The issue I’ve always had reading pros and cons of any product on PrintPlanet is that most of the posters are anonymous. It’s difficult to judge the validity or objectivity of an opinion if you don’t know who is saying what.

    That being said, I would think it very reasonable for someone to ask for only a response from an end user.

    And, from what I’ve seen on PrintPlanet Xerox seems to have their share of fans who are not shy about expressing themselves.

    Thomas Bougher aka Digital Press Guy
    Jet Letter LLC

    • Lindsay Lamb May 7, 2010 -

      Hi Thomas! I completely agree– It can be hard to know who is who. Xerox has guidelines for their employees where we are supposed to state in our signature that we work for Xerox, so we try to be as transparent as possible. Readers definitely need to be cautious though, for people really can pretend to be someone they aren’t.

      I also agree with you about Xerox having a good amount of fans… I love reading comments from customers who are advocates for the Xerox brand. They are the ones using the equipment every day, so when they have such positive feelings about using a Xerox product, it makes me feel good about the company I work for. They certainly aren’t shy to mention the good, the bad and the ugly– all of which is appreciated and helps us improve our products.

  4. Kevin Ransom May 10, 2010 -

    As an employee at one of the largest dealers in the Global Imaging family, I find the information on several blogs at Xerox to be very helpful. I expect the information provided to be as truthful as humanly possible. Why wouldn’t it be tinged with a bit of bias towards the Xerox product…that’s brand pride in my book! I have 23 years in the service side of this gig. Xerox, hands down, has more information available than any other manufacturer I have worked with. Good or bad, the truth is better than anything else. I’ll take that any day over what some vendors provide (or fail to). Keep the chin up, kiddo!

  5. Chris May 12, 2010 -

    I think they should be definately involved in conversation. Honest and clearly identified as a vendors employee. Only the mixture between internal information (25%), marketing messages from sales people (25%) and the customers who already work with the product (50%) will make the thing and decision process round.

    These days lot’s of employees were forced to discguise their real identity. When this comes to the light, the effect is dramatically bad for the vendor – as happens in past with several large companies)

    All in all the right mixture of information from different parties brings a good result in my opinion. But always fair in communication and identity.


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