Posts Tagged ‘customer’
Part three in a series introducing The End of Business as Usual…Written by Frank Eliason (@frankeliason)
Certainly not a statement you would expect to hear from the person formerly known as @ComcastCares, but I think it is an important perspective to consider if we are to build stronger relationships with customers. As I look around I see many interesting aspects of social media from large and small businesses. and I am very excited to see companies trying new things to reach their customers. But we are now moving in a new direction and I think too few see it yet.
New media marketing is creating an undercurrent that is shifting the very foundation of business. Without a full understanding of what’s possible, a clear view to the future or an idea of the strength or extent of the market undertow, executives cautiously embrace emerging social and mobile channels based on guidance of internal champions and external pressure from competitors and customers alike. But, leaders can only lead when their vision is focused and direction is defined. The ability to execute becomes paramount and the gaps that exist between goals and capabilities must be identified and solved for quickly to stay the course.
It’s not a widely kept secret, but customers do indeed keep companies in business. While businesses have long invested in improving customer relationships, the time has come to think beyond efficiencies and automation and examine new opportunities to rethink customer experiences overall. Why? Customers are more connected than ever before. The role they play has exploded beyond transactions and is now influencing the transactions of others as well as contributing to the brand experience at levels never before seen.
For decades, companies were very good at pushing messages into markets and talking at people rather than with them. Now companies are embracing the idea of two-way interaction. Monitoring conversations is becoming standard procedure as small and enterprise businesses alike make substantial investments in tools such as Radian6, Sprial16 and Brandtology. And, not only are companies monitoring conversations, they’re adopting social media management systems (SMMS) such as Seesmic and CoTweet to operationalize conversations and platforms such as Objective Marketer, PeopleBrowsr and Buddy Media to automate engagement campaigns.
Who owns social media? Is it marketing, customer service, public relations?
Looking at a recent study conducted by the Pivot Conference, the top four departments where social media is currently run are as follows:
2. Public Relations
4. Customer Service
Perhaps, it’s the wrong question to ask however. It’s not unlike asking who owns email. But, here’s another question and as we think about it, let’s broaden our perspective as the answer may not appear immediately.
For decades brands basked in the glory of control, control over consumers’ perceptions, impressions and ultimately decisions and ensuing experiences. Or better said, business leaders enjoyed a semblance of control. While businesses concentrated resources on distancing the connections between customers, influencers and representatives, a new democracy was materializing. This movement would inevitably render these faceless actions not only defunct, but also perilous.
Twitter is a human seismograph and it represents a transformative channel where everyday people possess the ability to affect actions. The cloud of collective consciousness that houses our thoughts, experiences, and conversations is also a data trove for experts to measure and mine serendipitous and organized behavior and events.
In social media, is there truth to the proverb, “seek and ye shall find?”
As our experience in new media matures, learning what it is we wish to seek and also accomplish is at the forefront of rapid evolution. Converting questions into objectives is how we grow and succeed. While the opportunities within social media in general are sweeping, one such possibility that’s largely untapped in business social networking is the ability to find customers and prospects as well as learn what inspires them to make decisions and share experiences.
I’m working on developing ideas that originated when writing Engage. It didn’t make the deadline, but wanted to share them here with you for your review and also to seek your feedback…
Everything begins with a shift in perspective from viewing stakeholders as a separate entity, “us vs. them,” to a singular view of “us ” as this enlivens a new era of community-focused marketing and engagement.
One of the most sought after answers in Social Media is whether or not engagement in social networks such as Twitter or Facebook directly correlates to customer acquisition, retention, and advocacy. Before we can earn customers however, we have to recognize that at any given time, there are also prospects. And, prospects require information and confidence in order to make decisions, in your favor of course. The answer to our question lies in social engagement.
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology. A digital analyst, anthropologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. Solis is also globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. His new book, What's the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. Prior to End of Business, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.