Part 2 of 2 ( go to part 1)
How do brands navigate the treacherous, democratized, new customer relations landscape to provide a genuine representation of their experience? The answer is part organizational mindset and part technological enablement.
Part Operational Mindset
First, an organization must be highly aware internally with active internal communication. Making this more difficult, modern business has become truly global with major growth markets in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa, as well as in mainstays like the U.S. and Western Europe. Town hall meetings simply will not cut it anymore. Employees need frequency and clarity of communication, but more importantly depth, richness, variety, and access anywhere. Facebook and Twitter have been high impact, easy to use and low burden in the consumer sphere, but nobody (except perhaps Mr. Greg Smith, late of Goldman Sachs) would use them as a vehicle for communicating confidential company matters. Regulations in many industries also mean that those platforms certainly wouldn’t make the cut for corporate use. The good news is that the tools are already here to bring together global knowledge teams and all the supporting systems data to make clear, concise, rich, global communication a reality.
Part Technological Enablement
Large organizations and small are now aware that their clients (and others) are talking about them online, and it may not be all good. This dull white noise of Internet chatter is tough to identify, harder to understand, with sources impossible to pinpoint. The volume and variety of updates, posts, tweets, and blog posts mixed with the unstructured, opaque nature of the content and contributors’ anonymity don’t match the need for hard metrics by corporate environments reliant on SQL statements looking for a match.
However, the advent of in-memory tools and newer pattern-matching capabilities (like a child’s innate ability to learn language rather than the multiple imprecisions of 1990s-era “fuzzy logic”) mean real comprehension of Internet chatter is within our reach. The latest visual analytics tools, akin to a self-service, Google Maps-style, tactile navigation through large data sets, only make this process more intuitive and rapid.
Knowing what goes on outside the firewall is good, but how do you translate this to actual business use? The ability to respond, after you’ve captured the salient information, is in its infancy for most organizations. Business culture and technology optimized for fixed office hours to give the data plenty of time to rest between work cycles has become more than antiquated. New approaches in organizational and technological terms are starting to be given their voice. Live “playbooks,” accessible from any desktop or mobile device can now solely address more clear-cut situations, and the escalation path for tougher calls. Rather than heavily leaning on IT to analyze each data set and develop reports for business users, new business processes and playbooks can be implemented at the speed of a refresh over the network. Product management, sales, corporate communications, and legal can collaborate securely, with full audit capability on data analyzed through mobile analytic dashboards and shared on a global, mobile network. This dynamic network can collaborate before a response goes out, and it can go out simultaneously through all channels to all media outlets, whether old, new, or social.
An Effective 21st Century Customer Relations Approach
This isn’t science fiction; these are real capabilities that my colleagues and I have had the chance to experience with our clients, on a regular basis. Progress in this field, was at one time hampered because organizations didn’t realize these boundaries can and should be pushed. Nowadays, it isn’t that these solutions aren’t implemented because they can’t be done (either with our platform, or a collection of other tools), but mainly because people don’t realize it can be done fast and efficiently. Hopefully, we can start to turn that tide.