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


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