Many of today’s companies recognize the urgency of converting to a
customer-centric, social web-based, operation. The excuses and faulty
logic brought on by global prosperity have been replaced by an honest
examination of internal operations and external market share. As the
various departments search for collaborative ways to maintain
profitability in uncertain economic times, we will see more and more
arrive at the duh! moment of realization that the customer comes first.
We haven’t exactly reached the Utopia that Adriana Lukas describes:
Imagine having your customers share with you what they like, want and think of you. . . Interaction with them is modular, intuitive and user-driven freeing much of your resources spent on marketing and transaction cost.
. . . nor have we seen more than a few examples of big, giant companies who give more than lip service to the process Doc Searls detailed almost five years ago (and Eve Maler recently simplified for those who love simple graphics).
But there are some unpredicted catalysts on the horizon, and in the spirit of making right decisions, we see that adoption of a Socialutions paradigm is going mainstream.
Our proposal for Socialutions involves problem solving and finding innovative solutions through social exchanges. We are suggesting that organizations can capitalize on the relationships and relationship connections of the people connected to them in some way, whether these connections come from employees, vendors, customers, or wherever. But we maintain that the customer comes first. Not to the point of turning major strategic decisions over to crowdsourcing perhaps, but first nonetheless.
Tom Peters has a rather unique (not a shock if you know Tom Peters) perspective on where to put the customer. He says, “to put the marketplace customer first, I must put the person serving the customer "more first.”Peters (admittedly selfishly) proclaims:
To give a high-impact, well-regarded, occasionally life-changing speech "to customers" I first & second & third have to focus all my restless energy on "satisfying" ... myself. I must be ... physically & emotionally & intellectually agitated & excited & desperate beyond measure ... to communicate & connect & compel & grab by the collar & say my piece about a small number of things, often contentious and not "crowd-pleasers," that, at the moment, are literally a matter of personal ... life and death.
As Jay Deragon noted previously, the drive of tomorrow's successful organizations will be a new method and philosophy proclaiming "We the Peoples are all aimed at Socialutions" that creates perpetual value. We the people are aimed in that direction, but do the companies who serve us (even if we are after their employees) get it yet?
Here are some Socialution suggestions for getting from where you are to where you need to be in a hurry:
1) Make the cluetrain manifesto (especially the 95 Theses) mandatory reading for all your employees
3) On your company-wide strategy wiki (get one if you don’t have one), start a “top ten clues” list and allow anonymous voting.
4) Allow time off (5% of the workday would be a good start) for your people (all of them, not just sales and HR) to Twitter, blog, Facebook and MySpace for the company.
5) Run from traditional (old school) marketing as a source of “what works.” If it really worked, you would not have taken the time to read this.