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The Coming Customer Revolution, 2

Posted by Bill Lee on April 6, 2011 at 03:24 PM

As far as lessons for business from the democracy tsunami sweeping the Middle East (see last post), I'd suggest the following.

Note that like Egypt and Tunisia, individual companies such as Dell have suffered flash revolts by disgruntled customers which created immense reputation damage, defeating the old school corporate PR methods for containing such revolts. Firms are quickly becoming more adept at containing such damage. The 2.0 stage of this will be about turning these new forms of engagement into opportunity.

In the Middle East, commentators who are wringing their hands about all the bad things that might happen with newly empowerd people taking to the streets seem remarkably blind to the potential upside--they might just form a democracy, develop free markets, increase their standards of living dramtically--and make good customers for us. That's the 2.0 upside there.

Here's the 2.0 upside for the customer revolution in business--it will continue to liberate customer engagement. It will --

- Move from allowing customers to give feedback on your products, to allowing them to help imrpove your product. and services.

- Move from giving customrs a forum to vent to giving them a forum on which to show their expertise and biuild their reputation.

- Move from providing them access to their peers to providing them a true community of their peers (Nnote: Facebook is not a community)

- Move from creating reasonable standards of conduct and interaction in your communities to allowing customers to participate in creation of such standards.

- Move from providing customers with straightforward, no-spin information, toward providing cutomer with deep insight from the content experts within your company. In other words, your experts do the talking, not the spin doctors.

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