The other day I read that in an effort to get closer to customers, TD Bank recently began using Twitter and other social networking tools to listen to customers, reach out to them proactively, and respond in real time to their questions and concerns. Customers like it so much that TD Bank now has 25 dedicated customer service reps working the social airwaves 7 days a week, 18 hours a day � and the company started integrating social tools and methods into their overall customer support strategy.
The same day I read that Beiersdorf, a global skin care products manufacturer, recently deployed a social platform where its business partners � suppliers, consultants, inventors, universities, institutes � can submit product ideas and work with Beiersdorf to nurture them into new products. The results for Beiersdorf: Several new, jointly developed products, including a new shaving system developed in cooperation with Phillips � plus a not surprising increase in the number of new potential partners who want to do business with the company.
Both stories are good, but I find I�ve been sharing the Beiersdorf story more, probably because it demonstrates that getting social doesn�t necessarily entail engaging the entire world, or all your customers � that there�s real value in conducting social business even with just a small, targeted audience. You can find wisdom in groups as well as crowds.
I read both these stories, and a few others, in The Business of Social Business: What Works and How It�s Done, a new report based on an IBM Institute for Business Value survey of 1,100 businesses around the world, plus additional, in-depth interviews with more than two dozen social business leaders. It�s busting with the type of revelatory data you�d expect from a survey-based report � e.g. �46 percent of the companies surveyed increased their investments in social business in 2102, and 62 percent indicated they were going to increase their expenditures in the next three years.� But it also tells some of the very different ways these companies are using those social business investments, right now, to get closer to their customers, make their people more productive, and innovate faster. Which means it will almost certainly inspire some social business ideas of your own.
You can get your copy here.
Mark Scapicchio is Editor of theIBM Software Newsletter.
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