I am busy these days planning some of the 2012 initiatives. One of my focus areas is to explain and spread, what Social Business means for Web and Customer Experience. In particular in Germany we are strong and even seem to be leading in using Social technologies within the enterprise. Customers like BASF, Bayer, Sennheiser, Continental, Rheinmetall, Robinson are only a few examples.
This is great, but in addition – or better in combination – we need to get beyond the company borders out to our customers and build a new quality of customer interaction, engagement and communication. Both aspects create a true ‘social business’. Customer relationships, communities and sharing of valuable content will become king. The new IBM CMO Study, which has been published a few days ago, prooves the development.
This leads to the topic of ‘social business’, of how companies transform themselves to become true social organizations that are able to engage well in a world we are experiencing of open, swift communication among and between customers and staff. This shift is not just about how marketers and customer service staff engage externally, but requires changes across the organization. CMOs need to be responsible for making inward communication to the organization easier and more impactful, just as much as they need to enhance outwards communication.
This is not trivial. It needs dramatic change as a whole organization to become customer-centric. Sounds easy, but isn’t in time of cost reductions, outsouricing, call centers somewhere and constant pressure on results and profit. Customer experience and intimacy needs investments, to be crystal clear costs money and needs people. And this is inflection point, where we will see how serious an enterprise takes Customer Experience. Do they take it serious or just use a buzz word. Are we seeing the end of business as usual? I believe at least we are going to see dramatic change in customer interaction with an empowered customer.