Today businesses rely on CRM products designed to facilitate customer needs into a framework designed by the supplier. It is like telling your spouse or children “I want your feedback but only within this context”.
The feedback systems of the past were not designed to listen rather to control the context of feedback into “frames” the supplier thought were important to them rather than “open conversations” that are important to us, the customer. Most corporations would consider the thought of having “open conversations” with a large audience of customers a nightmare of uncontrollable cost. When they consider the “technological tools” of the social web they think of it as low cost tools to control and manage the customers’ wants and needs.
The flaw in this thinking and the subsequent processes are that people would rather simply be heard than managed. Managing and acting on the intelligence gained from conversations is a much more effective way of building stronger insights into understanding peoples wants and needs. The outcomes should scream “I heard you” and subsequent actions should demonstrate that suppliers have changed or learned something as a result of what they heard. In 2013 the competitive differential between one supplier and another will be to proof of what one has heard and learned over the competitor who has not heard or learned anything.
Managing How Business Is Managed
People have been empowered with influence and the power to spread that influence quickly. Online conversations are becoming social markers that quickly become beckons buyers look for to find the proof of a brands word and subsequent worth.
Frustrated by brand promises not fulfilled, slick sales and marketing tactics, dysfunctional corporate cultures, the people are speaking out and their words are creating and influencing markets as well as the practices of management. Instead of businesses managing customers, customers are now influencing how businesses are managed.
The shift means that the rules for creating value is no longer a view from the inside out instead it is a continuous feedback loop from the outside in. The outside in is a management process framed by real time conversations rather than supplier designed meaningless surveys with the context of the questions designed from an inside out viewpoint. Inside out viewpoints represents the wrong attitude about hearing and learning.
Hearing and learning requires an open mind and a heart motivated to serve. The suppliers proof is in the minds and hearts of the buyers.