A couple of days ago, I outlined the five themes on the future of social.
It's no secret that although we are seeing a Renaissance in the products arena -- wearable technology, 3D printers, all kinds of sustainable materials, ways of building, modes of transport like bicycles, etc. -- we are squarely in a service economy. And more specifically, in the promise economy.
That is apart from the philosophical reasons why we buy in one place vs. another -- say at Patagonia, instead of a regular sporting goods store -- or for the deep discounts -- who can resist a clearance sale/great deal? -- we increasingly return to the brands and companies that deliver a consistent experience. They make a promise, and deliver on it.
Depending on the sticker price, the level of confidence in what you offer comes from a combination of addressing the five dimensions of risk your customers face, and the type of experience you offer through service, which enables you to make a better promise for the next time.
Which is why the number one theme on my future of social list is:
User experience for design of service will become critical
Multiple screens and context are part of that. And also places, as in physical experiences. See the new digital being in store/branch#.
Design of service has its focus on customers and what they experience, regardless of the channel they use to interact with your brand and thanks to the integration of systems on the back end to deliver a simple entry point.
[Note: In marketing discussions, you rarely hear about the back-end complexity of providing a single sign on, or the costs/time associated with replatforming a commerce site, etc. It's doable, not a walk in the park, though and businesses need to make those trade offs and calculations carefully.]
Now that is an easy thing to write on a blog post and quite complex to do, even on the marketing end.
So complex, in fact, that software giants have been acquiring companies and teams working on different solutions to support part of that customer journey in an effort to provide the end-to-end view (and data) into the funnel CMOs and CIOs/CTOs/marketing technologists# have been looking for to solve for understanding what customers want, and when.
Social is part of that understanding.
Behavioral research has a user experience component rooted (mostly) in qualitative inquiry into the motivations, intent, and tasks people are looking to do, and a quantitative component from the rich data -- including of the emotional kind -- found in social interactions.
So far, we have been scratching the surface on the social part, mostly using filters to look for specific data points -- many of the listening/monitoring tools were configured to work that way across a wide variety of networks.
In many cases, the tools were being built as the networks were forming. Culture being a big part of how humans do social, the bigger social networks have encouraged both spoken (by the community, we hardly, if ever read TOS) and unspoken (as in behavioral, herd-like) rules.
Twitter for this, Facebook for that, Google+ if at all (the network so far is breaking its own rules, so hard to keep track: circles/non circles, promoting people instead of the more obvious play it could make on content#, and all that), LinkedIn for business, and so on.
As your customers use those tools, they become accustomed to the access, ease of connection/sharing, ability to create and publish content, and so on.
... of technology changes
This point is not about the tools.
It's about the habits and social norms; the here and now, which determines the near- and potentially long-term future based both on the ability to make sense of when customers experience value, and what tasks they are trying to get done, and the ability to close the gap between promises made and promises kept.
That is the part that influences behavior. Now, if only we could boil that down into one single number!
Who's ready for our panel conversation making sense of the future of social# and its impact on customer service and relationships?
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her to speak click here.