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


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