September 11, 2009
There is no doubt that social media and social networks are transforming the way that people interact. It is also clear that this trend will dramatically change the way businesses interact with the new breed of Social Customers. What is not clear is how established companies should change to meet this new demand and harness its opportunities.
Many companies have started various technology projects to get onto the ‘social web’ to better connect with their customers and open a new channel of communication. I would argue that before jumping in, companies need to understand where they are in the maturity curve and what is their desired end point.
It is very easy to start a Facebook page or create a business tweet. What is much harder is to change the internal processes and culture of a company to engage in a truly authentic and valuable interaction with social customers and their networks.
May 6, 2009
I remember when I was learning how to ski I could not wait to get out of my wet and cold ski boots. Every ski day would start with the painful exercise of getting into the ill fitting boots and would end with the pleasure of coming out of them. These, of course, where the used boots that I had inherited from a distant cousin – or maybe the kid of a friend of a friend of my parents. The rational was simple; “equipment doesn’t matter, first you have to learn how to ski, if you like the sport then we will buy you better boots…”
But now I know better, equipment does matter – especially ski boots! Today, I have real ski boots which are warm, fit perfectly and are never wet. At 43 I ski better than ever and I actually enjoy the cold, snowy, powdery days – bring it on I say!
This brings me to my point about the decision process about enterprise systems – especially about CRM systems. It is crazy to see how the same criteria that my parents used when they decided not to buy me ski booths – but still take me skiing – are used to make CRM investments.
Somewhere along the decision process people forget about the outcome that they are looking for – like getting a child excited and passionate about a sport and not horrified at the thought of it. In the same way that you might take the ill fitting ski boots with you week after week to the ski slope and have miserable days, organizations spend money on quick fixes and tactical CRM projects while never enjoying the benefits of these systems. Why? I believe the answer is that they lose sight of the indented outcome. Under pressure organizations gravitate towards the seemingly easy and low cost solutions and promises – similar to borrowing used ski boots.
What I have learned is that those old, ill fitting ski boots usually stay with you more than one season or two – just like ill fitted CRM systems. That is why decision makers should not compromise. They should stay relentlessly focused on the business outcomes and make realistic investment decisions. As always, you get what you pay for.