If Social CRM, Social Networking, Social Media or Social Business had the sponsor of a letter, it would be the letter ‘C‘. The reason however is not what you think, of course you need to be Customer Centric, but this post goes beyond that. This post aggregates and builds upon the work of others, who highlight this wonderful letter, as you should as well.
(note, this is my first post since starting Comity Technology Advisors)
Generation C (your customer, now or in the very near future)
Generation C – Cross-generation (source: Springwise and Paul Greenberg) Generation C spans from Boomers through Gen X and Gen Y right up to Millennial. From a customer perspective, this represents change, highlights peer influence and alters who I trust. Generation C is:
- Content-driven – We are producers; blogs, text, images, audio and video, etc.,…
- Connected – Phone, Email, Messaging, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, RSS
- Creative – We are able to choose the form of Content that allows us to express our thoughts
- Collaborative – We like working with Friends, Peers, Mentors, Partners…Oh, and Customers
- Contextual – What we say, do and think is highly dependent upon where and when we are
- Communicative – Sometimes without a filter, we say what we say
Organizations need to act, react or just prepare
In his book, (RE)(ORGANIZE) FOR RESILIENCE, Author Ranjay Gulati uses the following to describe the “resilience tool kit”. The book is a worthwhile read, an important theme is centered around why organizations are having trouble keeping up with the pace of change displayed by their customers. The following is my interpretation of the author’s “5 Cs”:
- Coordination – The alignment of people, process and technology within the organization
- Cooperation – Focus on breaking down silos, addressing cultural and behavioral issues
- Clout – Decentralizing power and allowing front facing individuals to act
- Capabilities – Education and training of all individuals to be, or become customer facing
- Connections – Create internal social networks which extend outward to partners and customers alike
My own additions to the list
During the course of my reading, implementations, discussions and writing, there are few more which you might want to add to the list. These do not represent a strategy, maybe not even an objective or goal, but focusing your time and energy around what these points mean to you, is time well spent.
- Conversation – Make sure you having conversations, not one directional monologues
- Co-Creation – Involve your customers in the process of creating value for each other
- Consistent – The message and approach should be as similar as possible with all customers
- Committed – Once you begin to involve the ecosystem, stick with it!
- Community – The creation of place where your ecosystem feels comfortable enough to hang-out and chat
- Cross-Channel – Engage with your customers when, where and how they want (and it may change mid-conversation)
Some words which require more thought
There are some words which begin with the letter ‘C‘ which are words to pay attention to, but be cautious about. I am not going to say they are right or wrong, they simply need some paying attention to, to make sure you are aware of their power.
- Command – no matter what the goal, an approach will likely have unwanted consequences
- Control – Just think through what it means to you and your organization, and be cautious
- Conversion – Many people focus on this metric, what does it mean to you and at what cost
- Convince – Work to create buyers, not convince people to buy your products or services
- Change – The only constant is change – be ready for it
What would you like to add to the list? Did I leave anything out? (Aside from the most obvious, Customer of course)
I was lucky enough (or random enough) to be given access to a new Beta feature within Twitter called Lists. The Lists feature is similar to a compilation of features available by other means – create a list of interesting people to follow. For some details, and an interesting discussion, Robert Scoble shared some thoughts on Posterous. What is novel, is that Lists can be shared publicly. The public part can also be done by some other third party sites, like Tweepml.org – but the user still follows people at the individual person level.
By creating and controlling Lists at the source, the equation has changed.
Sharing publicly, also means that if I use your list, I relinquish some amount of control to you. There is a ripple effect to this subtle change in control. Suppose I get a little lazy and decide to follow a list for local tweeps (near Burlington, Vermont, where I live). Someone spends the time to make the list, and I do not want to repeat the effort. Did I just give up control? I will now follow the Burlington Tweeps that that person decides (they can add and remove people). Currently, I keep my own eye out for new folks, using a variety of hashtags – will I still add them to my list? Think about the impact to you and who you follow?
Will Twitter be creating a pseudo class system?
After reading the post, there are a number of interesting comments, but one caught my eye, by Andrew Mueller:
Lists make the utility of twitter much greater for the casual user who can identify a few highly curated lists and simply follow the list stream rather than the people. Once Tweetdeck, Seesmic and others integrate lists into their apps this could be done in columns in single streams. In this scenario it make sense that follower growth rates will decline. This may have broad implications for the twitter ecosystem. After all why should I curate a list of “Web Innovators” when Robert Scoble has done it for me!
…it will limit the discovery of new people to follow and could result in two classes of twitter citizens – those who are on list that are followed and those are not.
What are the implications of this change, for new users, and brands? I think that Brands will have a much tougher time, especially new entrants, as they will have a tougher time engaging. Andrew and I had an interesting interaction on Twitter based in this, which lead me to this post. The core problem is that for power users, who are creating the lists now (or when Twitter releases the function publicly) will represent a snapshot in time. Robert’s list of great programmers may grow, or possibly remain static. Hashtags offer a similar function, but they are not exclusive, they allow for new entrants.
It is not all bad
- There are some interesting uses for lists as well. For conferences and events, the coordinator can create a list for people to follow. They could publish the List name far ahead of the conference and add potential twitters to the list. No hashtag to worry about, and up to 5 more characters to use.
- Brands and Companies will be able to share lists within an organization without everyone having to know who to follow. Marketing sends out a message “Hey, just follow http://twitter.com/mjayliebs/scrm” Big benefit to Social Service Communities.
- Follow Friday and follow counts may go away, or be reduced in importance. With lists, you may not have follow counts that have the same meaning. You may have a lot more people following you than you know (blocked people will still not be able to see your tweet stream).
This will play itself out, for sure. But, the impact is bigger than it first appears. I know some of the people I interact with might not use lists, or might not use them extensively. Innovation and collaboration with NEW people will take a hit. New people will start with lists and might be less inclined to interact one on one.
What are your thoughts? What are the impacts to transparency (you can add to list without a follow)?
- There is a Big Difference Between Can’t and Won’t
- Stop Thinking in Two Dimensions
- No Beginning, No Middle and No End
- Rethinking the Customer Journey
- The Simplest Thing I Ever Had to Write
- Context Integration, the Future of System to System Interactions
- The Evolution of Customer Community
- The Fine Line Between Personalization and Creepy
- Experience Innovation
- Maybe We are Using the Wrong Words to Describe Collaboration
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