Treating Customers Like End Users, And Vice Versa…

I have to say, I was a bit surprised to get back to the grind after the holiday weekend, and not see my last blog post ripped to shreds in the comments section by pundits of Salesforce.com.  There were a few – but I guess the quiet of a holiday weekend means that this got lost. Oh well.

But Chatter and some other thoughts started jumbling around in my head this morning (one that is congested and hopefully not on the verge of a full-scale cold – so pardon me if this comes out garbled). The thoughts were around the fact that everyone using social media (on either side of the equation – business or consumer) is an end user of some sort of technology.

One of the things that has made social networks, Twitter etc. so popular is the zero-learning curve effect of super simple web 2.0 tools. A lot has been made of this fact, but it bears reminding ourselves. The ultimate social media success case is, well, social media. People gathered around these concepts because they were compelling and easy to adopt.

So what can we learn from all this?

I think we need to consider this “end user” mentality when we craft our social engagement strategies. As I have noted in the past, it is important to make social as non-intrusive as possible.  We need to think of our customers as end-users of our system – whether technology is involved or not. Put yourself in your customers shoes…do you present a culture that is engaging, transparent, simple? Is there a learning curve for customers looking to your business for help, advice, support, heck even to buy your stuff?

A lot of us throw around the term “getting out of our own way” a lot these days. But it is something to think about. And this “thinking of your customers as end users” does not just apply to customers. Think of your employees – the actual users of your system – as customers. Do your internal policies and processes lend themselves to delight, misery or somewhere in the middle? Would your employees, having seen behind the scenes, still want to do business with you?

These are some early thoughts – admittedly not very well fleshed out. But I think if we ask ourselves these tough questions as we put together social and other customer-facing strategies and programs, we might be a little more ahead of the game.

One thought on “Treating Customers Like End Users, And Vice Versa…

  1. So many companies are like cobblers with no shoes.

    Really love your comment about the importance of having a culture that is engaging, transparent, simple. That cannot be overstated. Social business will demand internal org change. That will be the main point of pain. Let’s make it easy for our end users. We want people to start using these tools—by making them pretty, easy to use and effective end-users will use them.

    Conferences and business books make a lot of revenue off of common sense. And common sense tells us to put ourselves in the shoes of the folks that come to our stores/websites/contact centers… But in the last twenty years common sense has gone out the window. Thank you for the friendly reminder.

    P.S. Perhaps not much biting chatter about your Chatter blog because you were right. I would imagine a SFDC comment, in response, might be “I got nothin…”

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