MAD Perspectives Blog

The Social Web - Empowering Customers

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 04, 2010

Last week, Nigel Fenwick, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester spoke in a joint Forrester/ NewsGator webinar.  The topic was Boosting IT Productivity with Social Technologies.  However, Nigel validated several thoughts that had been bouncing around in my brain. He speaks about the influence and shifts in mobile devices, social technologies, pervasive video and cloud computing.  Each of these converge to enable a more intelligent and influential customer, the empowered customer. I have been thinking about the shift from a focus on customer satisfaction to customer experience and how this has changed, dramatically, with the usage of social platforms.  While I often talk to clients about employee empowerment to use and leverage social technologies, I had not thought about the flip side – that of empowered customers.

Thanks to the social web, customers have access to more information than ever.  It is not just information developed and distributed by various corporate marketing teams.  It is information from individual employees, customers, business partners, competitors, supply chain vendors and anyone else who may interact with that company, its products or employees.  The online customer support forums of the early millennium have evolved to include live online discussions (by text or VoIP) with support staff and interactive chats with fellow customers.  If we are not satisfied with the support we receive, we tweet or Facebook immediately – and usually get some kind of attention from the company’s support team.

Thanks to the social web, prospective buyers can research, investigate and analyze products, services, reputations, ethics, roadmaps and competitors.  They come to you, the vendor providing their product or service of choice, armed with intelligent questions.  They are ready to make decision, but have perspectives based on the information that have gathered and interpreted.  These perspectives will influence their discussion with you (and others!) regarding features, functionality, delivery and pricing.

Thanks to the social web, your company and its employees can also be empowered. Your employees can access the same information as your customers.  As mentioned by Nigel in the aforementioned webinar, they use social technologies to get ideas for their job, to research key topics, to collaborate externally to solve a problem.  Your company may say that they already provide them with the tools to collaborate and investigate.  If they do, this is great, but are they using the tools and the platforms that your customers are accessing?  Can you as an employee gather the same kind of insights so that you can understand the customer’s perspective? Tthe ability for employees to understand a customer's motivation can only help them represent the company to its greatest advantage.

Companies used to control the message.  Subsequently the need for employees to participate and monitor online activities was limited to specific initiatives (i.e., customer support).  However, the social web has changed how information is shared.  It is still shared on websites, but customers are seeking authentic insights and finding them via blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn Groups, Slide Share, and Scribd.  If your company is just getting started with social technologies, empower your employees to learn in the same fashion as your already empowered customers.

What’s your perspective?


Recent Posts


Kontiki leadership B2B Jeremiah Owyang Compuware align backchannel identity Twitter Forbidden Technologies planning printing customer expectations control privacy Verizon SEC customer service networking empower TVPlus stimulate rich media conversation Time Warner Cable Nigel Fenwick Visible Technologies human Attensity360 audience marketing business model TV Guide cross channel BT Conferencing truth DAM Radian6 Sysomos business goals advertising MagicRuby trust news gathering language OTT UGC workflow technology planning, analysis storytelling governance voice of customer Nielsen MIB MediaWorks content management personality Gartner medium IntoNow content delivery executive support TNT Collective Intellect apps ABC CIO organizations business development GetGlue CMO Vitrue Vizrt Pinterest video conferencing adapt microblogging, firewall, value, Yammer, Utterli, SocialText, SocialCast, Buddy TV Quantum CSP MassRelevance Viacom data network Virage MediaBin FCC Altimeter transparency EMC relationships enterprise social networking strategy broadcast, IBC, digital media, New York Times TBS creative Ford Fiesta sales NASCAR listen trackur network management CDN video marketing North Plains inspriation Forrester convergence Gizmodo Echo Intel discovery NBA social media Mark Brodie big data culture openness social intelligence NAB endorsements Miso cloud computing Skype HP influence Comcast monitor connect, collaborate, communicate, digital media, consulting, social media ePrint Center message tweetdeck benefits social media marketing passion webinar Netflix social media monitoring social media index ConnecTV Aspera resources social computing Buddy Media solutions recommendations IBC firewall Microsoft collaborate RSG Media interaction SocialCast social identity BuddyTV Fiesta mobile online video platform MAD perspectives broadcast connectivity ROI Peggy Dau Createasphere business plan Fan Media Engagement Center Mad Bear Productions LinkedIn employee generated content program guide digital media live streaming Cotendo content marketing Kit Digital Dijit Evolve24 engagement user generated content disclaimers Mad Bear Produionsct HP Autonomy cloud net neutrality social media plan blog Facebook marshall mcluhan NetBase revenue digital asset management employees company culture lead generation Harmonic productivity Whisky Oracle second screen microblogging TV Citrix, trust case study community Harris Social TV NewsGator Enterprise 2.0 real-time EGC media zeebox New Technologies honesty HDS authenticity, transparency, conversation, truth, honesty lessons context connected TV Taylor O'Brien authenticity webcasts business intelligence Aereo TV connect convesation, interaction, social media, rich media, video, slideshare social media, firewall, social computing, employees, connect customer support out-of-home streaming Chyron Boston hootsuite B2B marketing telepresence brand strategy social content alignment tablet digital marketing communicate video Apple snow Utterli Tellybug Adobe analytics monetize market awareness web 2.0 dog consulting SocialText communication corporate identity YouTube holidays streaming media value Yammer search innovate MarketingProfs brand policy viggle Video Box Score Ford Web Strategy Kontangent social data