This is an edited version of an article that Michael Bogart originally published on LinkedIn.
“If I’m not making you sweat, I should be.”
That’s what former Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers said after making his now famous prediction that 40 percent of companies will be dead in 10 years during a recent keynote speech at Cisco’s customer conference.
Chambers cited digital disruption as the primary driver for the economic transformation we are undergoing, and I wanted to share a common theme I am hearing from business leaders across seemingly disconnected industries: that is, why a social-centric customer experience (or CX) strategy must be the focal point of digital transformation.
We all spend most of our day online, and research has concluded that social media makes up almost 30 percent of that online time.
Every function within an organization (sales, marketing, support, public relations, etc.) is tasked with trying to reach, understand and connect with people—and social offers the unique opportunity for an unfiltered view of the market. Social early adopter Richard Branson has even emphasized the power of social media, and how they use it at Virgin for real-time improvement opportunities.
And social is for everyone: Jay Baer does a great job dispelling the notion that social is not relevant for B2B, and makes a compelling argument as to why social is more important for B2B success than B2C.
Plus, Gerry Moran wrote a fantastic piece addressing how the proper social media strategy can even enhance content marketing to help businesses succeed and grow.
Why CX strategy?
Research company Gartner has boldly declared that 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. And by definition, brands deliver experience at scale through two primary drivers:
- Personalization: How do you connect with your audience on a one-on-one level?
- Consistency: How do you deliver a personalized experience consistently across various channels? (email, mobile, social, in-store, etc.)
Both of these questions get to the heart of a customer’s experiences and interactions with a brand—which means exceptional CX. But when CX is done in tandem with social strategy, that’s when brands can amplify that experience to a wider audience.
One company that has done this particularly well has been Starwood Hotels—which I think offers a great example of how a social centric CX strategy can drive brand growth and leadership.
Starwood has recognized that social is a powerful tool to meaningfully enhance guests’ booking and travel experiences, and is moderating social conversations across multiple brands, regions and teams. The Starwood team monitors their social channels globally, across 15 languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week….impressive!
To ensure an optimized experience, Starwood integrates comprehensive monitoring of social channels with existing workflow processes to provide the ability to automatically categorize content and assign messages. Time saved provides the Starwood team more resources to focus on advanced analysis and internal feedback, and ultimately, a world-class guest experience.
So will brands really die in 40 years?
Time will tell. But brands that embrace digital transformation through a social-centric CX strategy have the unique opportunity to listen and learn from their audience in real-time and unify all data sets (and consequently, business units) in order to deliver personalized and consistent experiences.
Thank you for encouraging companies to sweat, Mr. Chambers! The ultimate outcome will undoubtedly be a better experience for us—both as consumers and as business leaders.
Michael Bogart is a current resident of “the Live Music Capital of the World.” Michael discovered his love of music while growing up in Cleveland, “The Rock and Roll Capital of the World,” and further explored this interest while a student at Ohio State University. His passion for all things guitar and music quickly led to an ongoing fascination with how customer experience influences buying decisions. As a representative for social software platform Sprinklr, he helps B2B and B2C brands in the south Texas region evaluate their CX strategy.