Prepare for 2013 and the Dawn of the Conceptual Age !!!
By Bill Peters
Industries such as Hospitality,Health Care, Technical Services and even Financial Services need to evolve fromthe Informational Age into the Conceptual Age if they are to compete in 2013market. During the last century or more,we have seen industries mature and develop. The timeline has been:
- 1900to 1960 - Manufacturing Age
- 1960to 1990 - Distribution Age
- 1990to 2012 - Informational Age
- 2013to Future - Conceptual Age
In the year 2000, industries discovered the commercial valueof electronic marketing and the sale of products and services over theInternet. Powerful websites were built thatoffered live product inventory with secure purchasing protocols. Customers could now order and purchaseproducts and services online. It was anexciting and revolutionary way of shopping, and the general public loved it. During the first Christmas rush that year,however, it all came crashing down when customers tried to contact thecompanies directly for a multitude of reasons. It could have been a lost shipment, a wrong product was delivered, oreven just a return. Customers werefurious; they could not reach anyone at these new websites. Calls, emails and faxes to these companies wentunanswered. Many of these companies hadrushed to the web and quickly developed web based selling and marketingstrategies but forgot one thing. How doyou stay connected to your customers?
After the Christmas of 2000, some companies began to identifythe need to allow their customers to be able to contact them directly, via acustomer contact center, live Internet chat and ensured that emails and faxeswere answered within 24 hours. Unfortunately, companies that did not embrace these new ways of customerconnection soon found themselves facing extinction.
Companies hired third party customer contact centers to helpaddress this need while at the same time developing their own. The fallacy thatbusinesses could be conducted all electronically proved just that, a fallacy. People need to connect with people especiallywhen it comes to sales, services and or purchases.
During the next few years, successful industries kept enhancingtheir websites and product offerings. Thiscreated a whole new marketing approach, electronic media marketing. Now eachwebsite was competing for each click, key word and view. At times it became more important to have themost visitors to one's site rather than actual sales. At least that was howmost electronic marketing budgets were explained to the C-suite executives. Competition for key words and first pagelisting on a web search became paramount.
In 2005 to 2012 a new electronic media began to show itspotential for increased sales. This wasnamed Social Media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Companies now would approach this new media asa means to develop more and more marketing ideas directly from customerreviews. Companies would then try to influence their customers in what were thebest products or services for them by participating in those dialogs whenappropriate and possible. The marketingdepartments of those companies continue to grow even today.
2013 is almost here and what is really happening?
Consumers now drive the product marketing and service world formost companies. It is not so much a new reality but a twist to the reality ofmarketing and sales and brand awareness. The consumers are now on every Social Mediasite out there making distinct comments about their experience dealing with acompany and the company's product or services. This could be an advantage or disadvantage forthe brand depending on how the company responds to these comments. The customers are using Social Media sitessuch as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Trip.com and other well-known industry relatedsites as their bully puppet.
These comments are now reaching the Company's C-SuiteExecutives. In most cases prior toSocial Media, consumer issues were usually handled by a Customer RelationsDepartment, Marketing and Sales Department, or the Shipping Department of the company. Previously, comments did not go viralfor the world to see, and C-Suite Executives never were exposed to them. Social Media is now responsible for consumerdirect access to the C-Suite. TheC-Suite can now see those consumer comments and how those comments areaffecting their brand, sales and REVENUE and EBITA. The C-Suite Executives can now see what othercustomers can see about their company/brand and in most instances it is notvery attractive, right, wrong or indifferent. The customer is always right and word of mouthspread very quickly on these websites, and a company's reputation can bebrought down very quickly.
The C-Suite Executives are now looking for better ways ofcommunicating back through Social Media to reverse any negative trends throughconsumer comments. This has given the company's Contact Centers a seat in theC-Suite.
Industries need to utilize the best technology available tothe Contact Centers to bring together all Social Media connections. This needsto be done on skill-based routing so comments can be addressed almostinstantaneously.
This helps prevent customer churn and also makes the customerfeel:
- The customer made the right decision
- The company exceeds their expectations in making a wrong a right
- The company has listened to the customer
- The customer's business is important to the company
- The company made it easy for the customer to deal with them
Adding this up equals to:
- The customer trusts the company
- The customer will tell their friends
- The positive experiences will go viral in Social Media creating a very positive image of the company or brand and will increase sales.
The utilization of the best technology, Hosted, Premise Basedand or SAS is imperative for 2013. The interfaces for CTI, CRM, Knowledge basedatabases are more essential then ever. Companies need to evolve into theConceptual Age 2013 to insure their success and to stay connected to theircustomers.
Companies need to evaluate all state-of-the-art technologyofferings that are available and begin to implement them as quickly aspossible. In today's Conceptual Age itis the company that understands its customers from the C-Suite on down thatwill be the most successful companies for the next decade.
There are cost effective ways of accomplishing this. The useof proper technology and human resources must be looked at very closely. It's a proven strategy and can save millionsof dollars in payroll and resources when done properly.
The Conceptual Age gives us the opportunity to create andevolve into top notch operating companies by addressing the needs of alldepartments and being open to change.
Virtualization Evolution LLC