“By 2010 more than half of companies that have established an online community will fail to manage it as an agent of change, ultimately eroding customer value. Rushing into social computing initiatives without clearly defined benefits for both the company and the customer will be the biggest cause of failure.”
Notice that value must be defined for BOTH the customer AND the COMPANY, something I feel that many organizations miss when developing their social web strategy. Social media isn’t going to go away and while I’m all for testing and playing around with social channels such as twitter, I think the real benefit comes from being able to solve business challenges while making customers happy. I thought it would make sense to look at a few simple examples of what defining customer and company value can look like. We don’t need to get too crazy with defining “value” here because quite honestly most companies are still in the early stages so let’s keep things simple.
- Looking to speed up or improve the innovation process, soliciting and encouraging customer participation
- Improve or augment customer support issues through social channels
- Identify product or service problems via customer feedback
- Connect with and build relationships with analysts or companies that can result in partnerships or business opportunities
- Empower customers to become advocates, the advocates act as Jeremiah Owyang calls them, “unpaid armies”
- Improving the end user experience to keep customers coming back to purchase from you
- Timely and quality customer service support resulting in less frustration
- The feeling that the organization values the customer
- An improved experience when interacting with the company
- The ability to affect how a product or service is marketed or created which provides a feeling of importance and contribution
- Offers and promotions available exclusively through relevant channels
- Peer recognition
You can of course use monitoring tools such as Attensity and Radian 6 to get a better understanding of what your customers are saying about you online and what they expect from you. This can dramatically help in the customer value creation statement.
Again, these may or may not be specific to your customers or your organization but the key here is actually setting up these key value statements so that you have an idea of what you and your customers are working towards.