With new channels come new challenges
Yes, we do believe social media is transforming the way customers engage with their brands. Gone are the days of the orderly sales and marketing funnel where brands were in control of the conversation. We all remember the good old days when our customers hang on to every word our salesperson said, and had no way to get objective information about our products and services, don’t we? Well, time to wake up now: our customers are now squarely in control of the conversation.
We have seen this movie before
At the same time, is this really the first time we have seen such a major disruption in the recent past? No, we are not talking about marketplaces in medieval villages. How many of us remember disruptive concepts such as Business Process Re-engineering (1990), the emergence of CRM (1993), or even web 1.0 (1994)? Each of these movements shared this one core characteristic: break down the silos in our companies so we can provide a superior customer experience. While we can all argue whether this promise is fulfilled, can anyone argue whether the underlying promise of social is that new?
It still is about the customer experience
Today’s empowered customer has very different expectations of their brands. Not only do they expect a very different interaction in social media, they also expect the same experience in all their touch-points with us. What is the value of having a very strong presence in social media, when your marketing, sales and customer support teams are disconnected? Is it really acceptable for your call center agent to not be able to solve a customer problem, because they are in ‘presales’ and not ‘customer support’? We think not.
There is no social enterprise
Our view is that social is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Success in social is when our companies no longer talk about social media as this is weaved in our corporate DNA. Today’s leaders are born social. Just look at Zappos, the leading online shoes and clothing retailer. Most social media gurus will tell you that Zappos is the ‘poster child’ of social today, but their tag line simply states “Customer Service Isn’t Just A Department!”. Most importantly, this is not just a tag line, but rather what Zappos stands truly stands for. We challenge you to find one unhappy Zappos customer! Now, for most us this will be a multi-year journey, but our belief is the sooner we begin to think about social this way, the shorter our journey will be.
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