The social customer and employee require a new playground. Are you ready for it?

The internet and the emerging social technologies have changed the way we communicate and interact fundamentally. Just think of the so-called “digital native” – the generation of people who have never experienced a world without the world wide web.

They are wondering how we searched for information before google, how we stayed in touch with friends from around the world before facebook, where we watched entertaining videos before youtube, how we heard about the latest news and trends before twitter, where we asked questions before quora, how we managed our newsfeed/wall/timeline in the past, how we “liked” or reviewed products before the “like”-button or qype. And how the hell did we check into our favourite bar and tagged our friends without even owning a smartphone?

To be very clear: What has been described above does not only count for the younger generations anymore but more and more people around the world throughout all different of classes and demographics. We are going through a fundamental transformation of human communication behavior and media consumption. And the latest growth in users and time spent online does not come from the youngsters. It`s their moms and dads as well as grandmas and grandpas in some cases who are joining in lately – see for yourself here.

With the social web and its characteristics taking over the masses we need to re-think a few things. Keep in mind those people using the above mentioned media, tools and devices are both customers and employees. They are getting used to 24/7 connectivity, realtime data, easy and instant communication, global interaction, very convenient and affordable mobile devices, enjoying the flexibility of the app economy, etc…

Now, let`s lean back and think about the following questions:

On the customer side:

  • Where do I reach potential customers today? And which media do they use?
  • How does marketing work today? Am I still applying the right content?
  • What implications has the social web on customer relationship management?
  • How can I use the available data and feedback to improve my service and product?
  • Do our service channels and speed of action meet the expectations of our (future) customer?
  • Are we listening to our customers and do we engage with them enough?
  • etc.

On the employee side:

  • How does the workspace of the future look like?
  • Is it still right to forbid the usage of the internet during work time?
  • How does collaboration change in a world of social media?
  • Do we facilitate sharing and communication within our organization?
  • Do we have an infrastructure, tools and devices that match the emerging marketplace?
  • etc.

We don`t have the answers that fit all, but let us share some basic ideas and concepts on how to create a new playground for both your customers and employees:


  • Establish a professional monitoring which allows you to listen to the voices out there and use the data to improve your service/products – you will learn a lot about the next steps to take by simply applying what you will learn from the community around your business.
  • Understand that marketing is not a one way street anymore. Open up for the dialogue and engage with your customers one on one. Become tangible and solve problems. Successful brands care and have personality!
  • Make change happen. Work on your culture. Train people and make everyone understand the rules of the social web and the “new” economy. Encourage change and allow mistakes to happen!
  • You don`t need expensive trainers to spread the word and know how within your organization. Approach the youngsters within your team (students, interns, young pros) and let them share their world with you. Let them explain the new tools, platforms and lifestyle to the older generation. Try to see the world through their eyes.
  • Establish social media guidelines to clarify what is right and what is wrong. Guide instead of prohibiting! Make it clear that you embrace social media engagement both on the customer as well as employee side.
  • If possible – think of your own internal social network. Allow employees to create profiles, follow each other and facilitate sharing of information. Break down the walls and allow interaction between the inside and outside world of your business. Think of the consumer as the prosumer.
  • Make sure to run your business on a state-of- the art infratructure. Use the tools that everybody loves (e.g. iPads for sales people). Invest time and money in technology and software that facilitates your transformation into the social business. Also check out this video of Jive – a software provider in the space of social business solutions.

This blog post is far from complete. However, we thought that it would be a good starting point for our conversation with you. Feel free to ask questions, contribute your own ideas and solutions within the comment section. We would be more than happy to hear what you have in mind, what has worked for you. Exciting times we`re living in, isn`t it?!

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One Comment

  1. Nathaniel Hansen
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 22:09 | Permalink

    Great stuff here, Lefti!!

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