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Social Media Has Thrown Companies Back to the Dark Ages

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The advent of social media has thrown companies back to the Dark Ages. Customers have taken to the streets, complaining about anything and everything. Forward momentum has ground to a halt as companies spend an inordinate amount of time scouring social media sites, trying to find dissatisfied customers, putting out fires before they become conflagrations, and offering discounts to make up for mistakes. All these efforts are a huge drag on resources, time, and forward momentum.

Or is it really as bad as all that?

In truth, many of business’s ills used to be hidden from view. Customers didn’t complain; they didn’t have a venue. Posting a sign on a downtown NYC street corner saying, "Listen to me whine!" didn't do any good. Customers simply left. And companies didn’t really care, because even if disgruntled customers told eight people, it was only eight.

But now every customer has a megaphone and a Jumbotron to reach the largest, most crowded stadiums in the world. No longer can companies get away with ignoring customers who don't complain loudly enough or who don't know the CEO well enough to escalate issues to his personal attention. No longer can companies get away with ignoring customers they hold captive. Those customers now have channels to severely dissuade new customers!

Although painful, it is a wonderful thing that this dirty laundry is aired for all to see. Even though it slows forward momentum. Even though it causes a firestorm in the Twittersphere. Companies need to embrace this model fully as they halt the presses and fix the basics of their businesses. Only by resetting in such a fashion can they lay the foundation for forward innovation as they leave the Dark Ages of customer disregard and enter the Age of Engagement; where customers are heavily involved in every aspect of the modern business.

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Categories: Customer Centricity | Customer Insight

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