There is no doubt that the evolution of the internet has been restricted by the lack of technology – or rather of easily accessible technology.
IT technicians were the people who originally developed commercial websites, so it fell to them to manage them too. The trouble was, IT staff weren’t the people you’d automatically think of if you wanted a marketing job done. But as technology became easier to use, more and more marketing and HR staff started to handle highly complex websites – yet despite the improvements, the emphasis remains on the corporate message, rather than relationships with customers.
I would argue – perfectly reasonably, I'd say – that it's now the turn of the customer or the stakeholder to become more involved in deciding how commercial websites should be structured and what information should be available. And their means for doing this is what’s called Web 2.0.
Web 2.0 is the emerging new phase of internet activity that involves user generated content on sites such as YouTube, blogs, forums – intense networks of interactivity. It is a powerful new wave of mass behaviour with huge potential for business.
Yet using Web 2.0's radically democratic technologies may sound far-fetched and potentially risky. But think about it. How often do you find a FAQ page which has the information you want explained in a way you can understand? Not too many, I suspect.
If we get back to the original question and focus on CRM, it is possible to imagine that such a situation is not that far fetched, certainly if we’re thinking of customer support.
Companies often say how hard it is to attract new customers and how important it is to retain existing ones – but as consumers we all still frequently experience frustration and incompetence when making contact with large organisations. We rarely come away saying, 'Gosh, that was easy.'
And how often does a service provider or business make contact to check that everything is OK – not actually selling anything, just checking that you are a happy consumer? I would suggest very rarely, if ever. The extraordinary thing is that such a call, email or text does more to cement customer loyalty than just about anything.
At True Clarity, our aim is to help organisations review the ways in which legacy, contemporary and future technologies and innovations can best support their businesses. Web 2.0 is no exception, although the complexities are greater because one is dealing with cultural as well as technical issues – and with issues that span all aspects of business processes.
Just as they were during the initial emergence of the internet, businesses are now wondering whether or not they should be involved in Web 2.0.
Web 2.0 evangelists insist that it is vital to be involved – if only to mitigate potentially damaging content that attacks brand and good will. That’s a good point, but first it is vital to understand how all the fluff and buzz effects your company, and what the most important steps are for you to take first.
Interested in the potential of Web 2.0? Check www.trueclarity.co.uk/web20 to download our popular whitepaper How Web 2.0 will change your online customer management or make contact at www.trueclarity.co.uk to discuss how we can help with your plans.
By Rory Musker, True Clarity