There’s a danger we can overthink digital.
Whilst organisations grapple with the ‘cultural challenges’ of digital transformation, real people – the citizens, customers and users with more important things to worry about – are just getting on with life.
People are openly embracing technology in their personal lives – from ordering a pizza to choosing a holiday or buying a home, but it’s a different story when it comes to the workplace.
A new report finds that our own people are one of the biggest barriers for shifting to digital service delivery. Almost two thirds cite unwillingness by staff to adopt digital ways of working.
Last Monday a few of the guys from Bromford visited Aster Homes who are doing some very smart things, notably in the field of sales and marketing.
I’ve known Amy Nettleton for a few years on Twitter before meeting in person last year. What I find refreshing about her – and I hope she doesn’t take offence here – is that she’s anything but a digital expert. Despite that , or possibly because of it, she’s at the forefront of those redesigning services for the digital age.
What’s different about them?
They have recognised the profound shift in expectations from today’s hyper-connected customers:
- That customers can spot broadcasting and filter out traditional marketing messages.
- That they are no longer prepared to wait for your phone call, and that calls themselves are intrusive and an inconvenience.
- That they are 24/7 mobile and they don’t need face to face to complete even a complex transaction.
- That they no longer place trust in brands or institutions but in ‘people like themselves’.
Aster Sales are communicating in real time from based on customer preference, be that WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, whatever. They are basing their approach on developing a personalised approach that matches the lifestyle of their potential customers.
They have thrown away that last relic of the 20th Century – the 9-5 office based workday. Customers can expect to have their enquiries dealt with anytime from their sofa , weekends and bank holidays.
“I’ve learned that being digital isn’t a snazzy website” Amy told me, “Being digital is just what we do now, it’s how we all communicate. We manage the human angle perfectly fine when WhatsApping our friends & family so why do we shut down this part of us when talking to customers?”.
Welcome to the world of Social Customer Relationship Management. This is the use of social media services, techniques and technology to enable organizations to engage with customers.
As Grant Leboff explains, most traditional customer relationship management systems are complete rubbish. They only capture the information that you put in between you and your customer – mostly very narrow transactional interactions. “Nowadays, people are posting all sorts of information about themselves, their marital status, their favourite football team, the number of children they have, on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.”
A few years ago I asked the question Do You Love Your Customers Enough To Follow Them Back?
It was written about Zappos as an early adopting organisation recognising that social media presents an opportunity to stay connected and to help customers.
Rereading it reminded me of an example from Shirley Ayres where one ‘social organisation’ followed back just 1% of its followers.
Five years on and we can still only see a few organisations that have truly changed their behaviour.
Many companies still only see the opportunity of the social stream to promote themselves, broadcast and control the message.
It’s shows a missed opportunity and a profound misunderstanding of social networks.
What does your online behaviour say about your customer engagement?
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