Change is inevitable. Unless it’s from a vending machine.
The change in the way that customers expect businesses to be is causing a lot of companies to rethink who they are and what they do. Don’t get me wrong, most are not doing it for the love of their customers! They’re doing it because they’re hurting.
Many organizations can see that the path that they’re currently on, with regards to customer interaction and establishing trust, needs work. They’re seeing it manifest in terms of their sales figures, in terms of employee churn, staff morale, and so on.
So Management need to be humble enough to realize that the expertise that they demonstrated to get their job isn’t necessarily the same expertise that’s going to keep them there.
No business is immune. Look at Woolworth’s, or Borders, or Blockbuster, or Kodak. These companies (and a bunch of others) didn’t lose their way because of mismanagement, or corruption, or Act Of God. Their value proposition became outdated and irrelevant to their target customer base because they thought that all that they need to do to continue to be profitable was to nudge the company direction a couple of ticks this way, or that way. What they were too frightened to entertain was that the whole reason that the business came into existence needed to be reevaluated.
If you’re a business owner today, the single most important thing on your mind right now should be focused on how to keep your business value remaining relevant in the minds of your customers. Change is always going to happen. What we see as novel today becomes trite and cliché tomorrow. The challenge is refining your value perception at the pace of change.
One of the problems is that companies who’ve seen the writing on the wall think that “doing” social media is somehow going to make them immune to change. The issue is that, with a (very) few exceptions, they’re not.
Too many times, Social media is being implemented as just another business fad. It’s like having a “brochureware” website in the 90s, or having a “multimedia CD-ROM” to give out at tradeshows. Having a Facebook page, or a Twitter stream, or whatever, isn’t actually any different. It’s a company thinking that they can use technology to implement change. More than that, you can actually be creating more problems using social media channels that you’re trying to solve!
But then do companies even want to solve the problem? There’s an argument to be made that organizations have spent too many years distancing themselves from their customers that, maybe, getting “up close and personal” is too far away from who they’ve become today.
“Distancing themselves” ? Absolutely! We live in a world where companies send out email communication from a “do-not-reply” email address. Where calling a company puts you in front of a robot: “Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Support, this call may be recorded.” On the offchance that you get hold of a human being, they’re often in offshore call centers reading from a script and are rated by how many enquiries / cold calls / support requests they can “close” in a shift.
You want change? Well, change comes from within.