* This is by Antony Mayfield who tweets here. His agency, Brilliant Noise has published a (free) paperr on Nokia’s principles for social media marketing, with Craig Heburn, Nokia’s Director of Social Media and Digital.
Over the years I’ve worked with a good many companies in the mobile sector. I didn’t mean to, I don’t make a point of advertising the fact, it just worked out that way. Many of them have struggled with the idea of making the customer the centre of their universe.
Often, the marketing department would love to make the customer the obsession of the whole company, but something always seemed to get in the way of the well-intentioned masterplans.
Usually the word legacy was attached to the block: legacy-billing systems, legacy operating systems, legacy business models, old school (aka legacy) executives’s attitudes…
There are some signs of a company that might just be able to turn itself around to face its customers again.
One is Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a primary business measure (look up the details, but NPS basically counts how many of your customers wouldn’t be embarrassed to recommend you to a friend).
What NPS does is take away the primacy of metrics that fuel ridiculous churn-business model ROI-obsessions, that in turn lead to addiction to paid media, cost-cutting, feature-itis, rubbish customer ‘care’ and zero loyalty.
Suddenly you can have conversations about how useful it would be if every expensively acquired customer didn’t walk away in disgust at the earliest opportunity after buying something. What would that look like? How would that work?
The other sign I see of a company that is properly focusing on customers is an interest in the management buzzword du jour: social business.
Social business is a word that I held with rhetorical tongs when I discussed it for a while. It won me over in the end, though, when I began to see it put to good use.
What it means in practice, when you have filtered out the jargon-ese and pointless infographics that infest the topic is this: being interested in getting closer to customers, connecting them with people in an organisation, using social media tools to cut bureaucracy and get on with things faster.
Social business: It’s not simple, it’s not for simpletons, fast-buck turners and company-flippers. It’s for people who want to build a legacy for their business that is about customers and great products and services.
Social media and social business aren’t the whole answer to the challenges that companies face, but in the context of NPS and building a customer-focus in your business they are pretty powerful tools.