business, trust and the death of email

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social_media_at_work.jpgThe post amatter of trust in businesssparked a few conversations which is awesome, one of the longer discussions was worth turning into a post to continue the conversation online and keep a record of it;

As email slides out of favor it's being replaced by social computing, generation Y are starting to enter the workplaceand we're faced with a change in our communication behavioremail replaced by IM and microblogging, documents being created collaboratively on wiki's or gen Y's equivalent Google Wave. Right now internal tools are often poor relations of newer cloud based tools that gen Y are already using. As we just mentioned, the wiki is a prime example compare it to Google's Wave product; one does collaborative editing by a sinlge user, one at a time and the other multi-user collaborative editing in real time, using a wiki after Google wave is like going back from the MP3 to the CD.

As result, social computing will break down the barriers between corporations and it's customers, discussions will take place on blogs, Twitter, in Facebook, in the open which will and should involve collaboration from people outside the organisation.

Lot's of big brands have engaged in social computing for their benefit, but in order to maintain the relationship, it's important that the customers trusts the organisation. The example in the blog post, the pizza company, although not the greatest example there's plenty of better ones, deomostrates that taking part in the conversation with customers can provide a clear benefit to both.

Therefore it must be transparent communication, no hidden agendas, as every fact can be checked quicker and in more depth that the corporate world can imagine. This conversation, this dialogue based on trust will turn customers into advocates for your products, look how many videos there are for products such as the iPhone on YouTube, most if not all are created by people who have a passion for the company and it's products, not by the manufacturer.

How does this fit if you're a services business like Orange Business and not a product based business you may ask, as a suggestion, I'd start be exposing the product guys to customers and encourage the conversation so that the new products are anticipated and eagerly awaited and are exactly what customers want and to do all this requires ...trust.Benjamin Ellis

Nicolas Jacquey
Rob Evans

Rob is the Group Head for Telecoms Sourcing for Western Europe and the Nordics and manages a team providing all aspects of Telecoms sourcing to Orange Business.  Rob owns the Commercial relationship with major carriers across Europe on behalf of Orange Business.  Cost reduction, re-negotiation, competitiveness and subsequent impact on country P&L are key activities that Rob drives across Western Europe.