Due to “web 2.0” developments the balance of power between organizations and customers has changed…and it is very likely that these changes will progress and give more power to the costumer. Blogs, video communities and “worth of mouth” offer various (good) options for interactions between consumers.
1) We have to keep in mind that the average consumer faces 3.000 (!) advertising stimulus per day. (Source: Tropp, Jörg; Reichel, Dennis (2007): Die Zukunft hat längst begonnen, In: diebank, volume 4, page 63)
Therefore we can assume that these ways of consumer-to-consumer marketing (blogs etc.) will become very important. Truth and that what we hope do be truth (do you remember Lonelygirl15?) as well as recommendations and viral marketing activities have become very important. Why believe in commercials when you can find hundreds of former customers who describe their experience with a certain product and service? In the last couple of year companies, e.g. online stores and travel agencies, have introduced this feature in their own service range.
2) We have to keep in mind that the technological development enables more and more people to write and distribute their opinions faster and easier.
3) Organizations have to accept a loss of control about communication.
If Amazon.com is not happy with a comment or this comment is inappropriate, the company could delete it. How about comments and opinions on your website and in your blog? But not even consumer can do so; this is an option for employees and all other types of organizational stakeholders as well.
To illustrate this a little bit, see “I was fired for blogging” by Ellen Simonetti.
So, how can organizations respond to those changes?
4) I would like to recommend combining a traditional key performance indicator (the customer value) with a “new” indicator communication value to get an idea of the impact and potential scope of your organization communication efforts.
Well, this indicator is not that new, you will find a lot of stuff and ideas around the web.
The communication value represents the willingness of a customer to start a relationship with an organization. Taking this into account the communication value puts an emphasis on customer’s point of view. His or her point of view is the object of analysis. The communication value is dependent on
- the number of customers that keep an eye on communication offers
- the degree of involvement during the reception of these communication offers
- the level of bilateral communication, e.g. how many customers participate in surveys, give information or even recommend products and services within their social network)
- the degree of customer satisfaction in the after sales or after communication phase
In order to evaluate the relationship between customer and organization it is essential to develop a “unit” of customer value and communication value. Taking into account web 2.0 developments and technology should integrate and manage both corporate perspective (customer value) and customer perspective (communication value).