I've talked about Danny Meyer's approach to hospitality as a business tool. Danny believes that in his restaurants, if you want to deliver a superior customer experience, don't begin with customer experience strategies. Begin with employees that GET customer experience and have a high Hospitality Quotient (HQ) -- that innate ability to be hospitable, listen to customers and deliver an enriching experience to customers.
Question: Can the same approach be used in B2B environments?
In a word yes.
Companies that deliver great customer experiences tend to experience:
- An appeal to both techie and non-techie users because both are engaged with the content and communities that appeal directly to them
- Higher return on marketing dollars because they don't provide marketing speak but speak in plain spoken, conversational tones and leverage great UGC. So customers WANT and NEED to engage in such forthright conversations.
- Products that are more closely aligned with market needs again because using the voice of the customer to influence product decisions
- Greater intimacy between customer and brand leading to a superior revenue stream: Marketing Drives Conversation, Conversation Drives Relationships, Relationships Drive Brand Affinity > Brand Affinity converts into Revenues
- Customers as avid brand evangelists that do your reference selling (WOM) for you
Many believe that Web 2.0 implementations are the vehicle for making this customer centricity possible. While those are indeed the tools, foundational elements within a corporation need to be laid first. Chief among them are what I call a companies - "Social Quotient" - the likelihood of an organization to effectively utilize Web 2.0 solutions to drive greater customer intimacy. A companies' SQ begins with its employees:
- How likely are they to want to use social media tools to connect not only with one another but with customers and partners?
- Are they using Twitter, blogs, Wikis of their own accord?
- Are they demanding that these tools be deployed internally for greater internal collaboration
- Are they part of a diverse workforce generational makeup - does it have a broad distribution of Millennials (Gen Y), Gen Xers, Early and Late Stage Boomers - Millennials and Gen Xers tend to drive adoption of these tools
- Do they have a penchant for experimentation and are not afraid of Failure? Are employees given innovation time? Time to do their own projects?
- Are there lots of grass roots implementations afloat and are employees evangelizing them to others?
Employees with a high SQ will want to use Social Media to drive customer intimacy and in so doing benefit not only the customer but the brand. So start with an Employee First approach to Social Media NOT the Social Media itself.