Tag Archives: Internet

Social Media and the Mix

The marketing world is full of “social media experts” running around proclaiming the end of marketing as we know it. Many of these experts have a technical background rather than a marketing one. People are creating Fan pages on Facebook and marketers are tweeting left right and centre, writing keyword dense articles for SEO and blogging like mad. But has our world really changed?

Although there is a strong correlation between some companies’ growth in share prices (notably Nike and Starbucks) and the number of followers and fans of their social media, this is probably more attributable to the fact that they are growing their brand awareness and engagement. But there is more to marketing than promotion. These companies are getting the rest of their marketing mix right too.

We were all taught about the famous four P’s – Price, Product, Place and Promotion.

The term “marketing mix” became popularised after Neil H. Borden published his 1964 article, The Concept of the Marketing Mix. Borden began using the term in his teaching in the late 1940’s after James Culliton had described the marketing manager as a “mixer of ingredients”. The ingredients in Borden’s marketing mix included product planning, pricing, branding, distribution channels, personal selling, advertising, promotions, packaging, display, servicing, physical handling, and fact finding and analysis. E. Jerome McCarthy later grouped these ingredients into the four categories that today are known as the 4 P’s

Recently the four P’s have fallen a little out of favour but they are still relevant. Some academics have also included a fifth P – People – the value your people bring to your business by providing service to your customers and this is critical to the social media mix as your employees network and engage with your audience.

As marketers, social media is changing our advertising, branding, promotion, fact finding and analysis, but we still need to get the other ingredients right in order to be successful. When we incorporate social media into our marketing mix, we need to make sure that the novelty and technologies don’t overshadow the strategy and we need to focus on the rest of the mix too..

http://www.netmba.com/marketing/mix/

http://homebusiness.about.com/b/2007/07/24/search-engines-and-the-5-ps-of-marketing.htm

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create business cases, digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Business, Digital Communities, eMarketing, Facebook, Google

Approaching Enterprise 2.0, beware your mindset

I recently read an interesting article by Donald Sull entitled “Why good companies go bad” – Financial Times (3 October 2005). In it he expands on the concept of “active inertia”, saying that “companies  often respond to even the most disruptive market shifts by accelerating activities that succeeded in the past. When the world changes, organizations trapped in active inertia do more of the same. A little faster perhaps or tweaked at the margin, but basically the same old same old.”

Sull uses the example of organisations trapped in active inertia as resembling a car with its back wheels stuck in a rut. Managers step on the petrol and rather than escaping the rut, they only dig themselves in deeper.

He talks about clear commitments being required for company’ initial successes, but he says that these commitments harden with time and ultimately constrain a firm’s ability to adapt when its competitive environment shifts. He discusses distinctive success formulas which focus on employees, confer efficiency, attract resources and differentiate the company from rivals.

Five categories of commitments comprise the success formula for organisations:

  • Strategic frames – What we see when we look at the world, including definition of industry, relevant competitors and how to create value;
  • Processes – How we do things – entailing both informal and formal routines;
  • Resources – Tangible and intangible assets that we control which help us compete, such as brand, skills, technology, real estate, expertise, etc.;
  • Relationships – Established links with external stakeholders including investors, technology partners or distributors; and
  • Values – Beliefs that inspire, unify and identify us.

Initial success reinforces management’s belief that they should fortify their success formula. With time and repetition, people stop considering alternatives to their commitments and take them for granted. The individual components of the success formula grow less flexible – Strategic frames become blinkers, resources harden into millstones hanging around a company’s neck, processes settle into routines, relationships become shackles and values ossify into dogmas.

Ossified success formulas are fine, as long as the context remains stable. However when the environment shifts, a gap can grow between what the market demands and what the firm does. Managers see the gap, often at an early stage, and respond aggressively to close it. But their hardened commitments channel their responses into well-worn ruts. The harder they work, the wider the gap becomes. The result is active inertia.

One seismic environmental shift, apart from structural changes in the global economy, is the advent of web 2.0 or the interactive internet. The new Internet has radically changed the rules of the game, customers have more power, companies have the ability to harness the Internet to apply many minds both internally and externally to collaborate and innovate.

Many companies are investigating Enterprise 2.0, but they are still filtering their interpretation through their existing success formulas.

In organisations I have worked with, I often see the role out of Enterprise 2.0 technologies from the IT department as though it was any other Enterprise technology like SAP or Oracle. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the technology being owned by the techies, web 2.0 has fundamentally changed the way that businesses will do business in the future and should be owned by the business. Often web 2.0 seems to be interpreted as the technical ability to blog, or a wiki, bolted onto a content management system for a website, or the document management system within an organisation.

In reality Enterprise 2.0 should be accompanied by a strategic review of how a company is doing business, its environment and its new, empowered customers and expanding markets. Processes need to be reviewed and designed from the user backwards, the way we handle orders and complaints needs to be streamlined, or the world will know all about a company’s unwillingness or inability to address issues. People’s skills need to be analysed, have they got what it takes to be able to communicate across porous company boundaries, do they know how to maintain their personal and company brands in an increasingly transparent business environment, has the organisation got enough dedicated resources to engage with powerful consumers and other stakeholders? What relationships are going to be key to the future of doing business and are the entrenched value systems compatible with a new business environment?

Many companies are looking to their suppliers for advice on how to roll out Enterprise 2.0, if the suppliers are technology companies or PR companies, firms need to realise that they will approach web 2.0 from their own mindset. PR companies see web 2.0 as an extension of the companies’ communication. Technology companies see it as an addition to the application architecture.

Microsoft has just released their magnificent SharePoint 2010, but it is important to realise that this is still just a software application. Granted its potential is fabulous, but until organisations review their strategies, processes and competencies, they are not going to realise the full power of the web. If they don’t think through their success formulas, the application will be implemented in such a way as to reinforce or aggravate the “active inertia”, enabling people to do more of the same more quickly. Generally the skills in technology suppliers are geared towards rolling out seats and adhering to good project management principles. They are not strategic business thinkers and need to partner with people who are focused on how companies create competitive advantage and function in the business environment.

Applications do not conduct business, people do. If employees in the organisation are required to collaborate for the organisation to become more successful, then the fact that they now have the tools to do so is not necessarily going to improve collaboration, they may need to be taught to collaborate – when, why, how? If people are required to engage with customers to shorten sales cycles, but the value system within the organisation is all about risk mitigation and proprietary methodologies, then the value system may need to be adapted to fit the modern business environment. If processes are designed from a point of view which suits the organisation and call centres have been deployed to cut costs, then no amount of wiki’s and blogs or the ability to “share” on Facebook is going to appease outraged customers who will take their gripes public.

Enterprise 2.0 requires greater levels of maturity within organisations and sophistication in how they function successfully in an ever changing environment. By reviewing their success formulas companies can use the web to compete in an extraordinary way and conduct business in a structurally changed business environment.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za

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Filed under Business, eMarketing, Enterprise 2.0, Macroeconomics 2.0

Word-of-Mouth and eMarketing

The Internet has brought many unique benefits to marketing, one of which being lower costs and greater ability to engage with a global audience. The interactive nature of eMarketing, both in terms of providing instant response and eliciting responses, is a unique quality of the medium. eMarketing refers to digital media such as the Internet, e-mail, wireless media, the management of digital customer data and electronic customer relationship management systems.
It also refers to the placement of media along different stages of the customer engagement cycle through search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimisation (SEO), banner ads on specific websites, e-mail marketing and Web 2.0 strategies.
Word-of-mouth (WOM) principles play an important role in eMarketing. People no longer need to wait to meet someone in person to discuss a book they’ve read or an event they attended. Today they simply generate content in their social networks letting everyone know their views. For live events, people broadcast themselves via Twitter for real-time content generation not to mention the interaction as others tweet, retweet, comment, like, or post reactions.
The traditional push communication techniques are becoming less effective while still costly. We have transitioned into a media environment meant to be about conversations where the media and its message represent the starting point for the generation of meaning in social media. Digital media has relinquished the control to audience.
If you’re actively using eMarketing, you have a higher chance of being heard, connected and engaged when you’re part of the WOM network. eMarketing should be used to manage reputation and generate awareness. Brands should care about what people are saying and how they are saying it. They must actively listen and participate in order to humanise the relationship through interactions and manage their reputations.
Whether you’re a blogger, a marketer, or an entrepreneur your opinion counts and can be contagious. It’s now possible and easy to circulate your message via the new digital channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube. The key is to facilitate effective word-of-mouth campaign through these communities.
Each time you’re able to influence experts, opinion leaders, or people with authority you’ll instantaneously gain a little more credibility and access to their fan base. Then the collective minds with shared visions will continue to spread your message forming the viral wave pushing all the way.
If you want to attract relevant audience to your branded social network, you must do more than just spam visitors with self-promoting ads. You need to offer compelling value that keeps your audience engaged as well as perpetuating the interaction. The more interactivity a social network platform allows their users to have, the more engaged users will be which often leads to a greater chance of influencing the network effectively. This is why blogs are still amongst the most influential social media because they encourage bloggers to interact with their audience in a simple and easy fashion.
Although eMarketing is complex, it is critical to the future of any organisation

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Digital Communities, eMarketing, Enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0, Web Marketing

Thinking about eMarketing

With the digital population growing, companies can no longer afford to overlook eMarketing. We need to build an on-line presence, create brand awareness, drive leads and engage with existing and potential consumers. Here are two critical strategic objectives which lend themselves to eMarketing and the ways they can be implemented to create holistic and successful on-line and off-line marketing campaigns.

Create a Digital Footprint

The first step to eMarketing success is establishing an on-line presence. Website development provides the central hub upon which all future activities are built. It has to be thought through carefully in order to ensure that it is aligned with your off-line brand, not only in the iconography, but also in the messaging and user experience. If you sell rustic food, an upmarket corporate style of writing will not contribute to your web presence, even if your look at feel are the same as they are in the real world.

Once your website is place, you need to look at social media, web PR, on-line advertising, industry blogs and viral marketing to extend your digital footprint beyond your website to drive potential and existing customers back to your site. This should be a dedicated activity.

With a digital presence comes more potential customers and an additional revenue channel. You need to ensure that people can find you by using search engine optimisation (SEO), which will ensure you are better represented on the SERPs (search engine results pages) – increasing your exposure to potential leads and driving traffic to your website.

Using the many avenues for driving on-line presence presents unique advantages over traditional brand awareness drivers. For example, the upfront costs of a website are considerably lower than those of TV and, with reduced cost and time lag, it’s possible to mould your presence to opportunities and risks in a near real-time fashion as they arise. Furthermore, the economies of scale apply, it costs the same to open a market of 100 000 potential consumers as it would 10 million.

Conversion optimisation makes the most of each unique visitor coming to your website – subtly directing them to meet your marketing objectives. By implementing conversion optimisation, more traffic is turned into viable business leads. This improves the profitability of your web presence and your overall business.

Engaging your audience

There are various channels to drive engagement and build relationships with your consumers. By exploiting one of the two key advantages of on-line marketing – one-to-one engagement and economies of scale – it becomes possible to meet consumers’ particular needs.

Social media provides a useful channel to spread your marketing. By creating a platform for engagement, you are opening the door to further engagement and this allows for a relationship to be developed. However, all engagements should empower and enrich the relationship rather than directly sell products. A simple measure to establish whether you are on track is to make sure that no more than 10% of the content is focused on sales. This encourages the development of a relationship built on transparent and honest communication.

Provided engagements have clear pay-offs to the users’ time investment (financial, social or emotional), users will continue to engage. It’s important to remember that your consumers are as time-starved as you and need to provide value in exchange for their time.

This is fundamentally changing the way we communicate with our consumers. The new focus is on empowering them to communicate on your behalf, therefore increasing the impact of their trust – the perfect opportunity for social media marketing.

eMarketing doesn’t stop at the creation of a digital footprint, driving of leads or the creation of a platform for engagement. One should also consider the possibility of internal business process improvement through integration of certain processes with your web presence. CRM can be perfectly integrated to improve consumer satisfaction through targeted and timely engagements. This reduces the fixed cost overhead of staff and replaces it with the low variable cost of a “per engagement” model which can grow and be shaped as your needs develop.

From these engagements deeper customer insight can be gained which can be used to improve the effectiveness of your current and future marketing strategies.

As the on-line population continues to skyrocket, eMarketing provides the competitive edge necessary to excel in today’s highly competitive environment.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under eMarketing, Enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0, Web Marketing

Start with your business strategy before you execute an Internet strategy

South African companies are starting to switch on to the enormous potential that the new Internet, or web 2.0 holds as a business platform, but many organisations don’t know where to begin to craft their Enterprise-wide web 2.0 strategy.

The correct place to start is by understanding what your business objectives are, and extrapolating your Internet Strategy’s goals from that understanding. For example one business objective might be to grow revenues and profits by moving into a new market; another might be maintaining the position of employer of choice, making the client central to the organisation, or maintaining current profitability in the face of increased competition.

Enterprise 2.0 is a range of integrated web based applications to meet practically any business objective. Depending on your business goals, your Enterprise 2.0 objectives may include, achieving customer conversions, creating employee loyalty and increasing productivity, managing knowledge or simply getting your brand out there.

The beauty of Enterprise 2.0 is that you can measure and track the results you’re getting from each application and tweak and experiment until you identify what works in each particular situation. This can be mapped back onto your business objectives, giving you a very clear picture about the bottom-line returns on your Enterprise 2.0 implementation.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Enterprise 2.0, Interactive Intranets, Web Marketing

The EQ of CRM

Web 2.0 provides us with an opportunity to improve our relationships with our clients by focussing on the interactions that are important them and on the way our employees interact with clients.
Mature companies with many points of contact with their strategic clients — banks, investment houses, IT companies, telecom providers — devote a great deal of money and effort to retaining their current customers because the costs of doing so tend to be much lower than those of acquiring new ones. The success of this strategy depends on expanding the breadth and depth of client relationships and on translating the resultant loyalty into higher sales, as well as a healthier bottom line.
However, although companies are investing in traditional loyalty programmes, CRM technology and service-quality improvements, most of these initiatives do not return the expected investment. What’s missing is the sparkle between customers and employees that transforms people into strong and committed brand followers. No where is this more apparent than during interactions when clients invest a high amount of emotional energy in the outcome (for example, a lost order or a cancelled flight).
Companies struggle to transform the way employees respond to its clients. Some assume that the quality of emotional responses — what Daniel Goleman calls an employee’s “EQ or emotional intelligence”1 — is impossible to influence. Others script what “spontaneous” conversations, removing authenticity from the clients’ experience. Still more underestimate the importance of employing employees who are mature enough to understand the clients’ world and the impact of poor service on it. This makes it difficult to foster appropriate behaviour and enhance the intrinsic emotional intelligence of employees, across the whole customer facing employee network.
There are a number of practical ways to overcome these challenges. In any industry that offers a service, there are moments when the long-term relationship between a business and its clients can change significantly. By supporting and developing the emotional intelligence of its employees, it can ensure that those moments have a positive outcome.
High emotion, high performance
What is the link between emotionally charged interactions and the purchase decisions of customers? McKinsey research has identified the existence of “critical moments” for customers as well as the companies that respond appropriately to them.2 These moments occur when the customer has a problem or receives advice, either good or bad. By contrast, routine transactions (such as collecting a credit card) don’t offer the same opportunity to create an emotional bond with the customer. Many companies make the mistake of over-investing in routine transactions but fail to differentiate themselves in the customer experiences that really matter.
McKinsey’s research demonstrated clearly the impact of emotional intelligence on the bottom line. After a positive experience, more than 85% of customers increased their value to the bank by purchasing more products or investing more of their assets; more than 70% reduced their commitment when things turned sour. More worrying, this isn’t necessarily immediate or visible, it takes the form of shifting part of a client’s business to another institution, or a willingness to talk to the competitor.
Given the clear link between positive interactions and share of wallet, every customer-facing business should identify the points of interaction that are relevant to its industry. In insurance, for example, there are many of these potential service interactions, from shopping for quotes, to claims procedures and claims handling. All offer the potential for something to go so badly wrong that a customer defects. Only a few can provide positive moments — opportunities to intensify the customer’s loyalty to a carrier.
Then, having identified the “critical moments” for their industry, they need to build a support mechanism into the employees’ environment for them to acquire the EQ and behave in a way that is relevant to the clients’ needs.
Why behaviour is the key
Standard responses to eliminate human error (IT systems, mechanistic CRM approaches and complex protocols) may smooth simple customer interactions. But pure technological solutions can never strengthen the emotional connection between employee and client.
Technology falls short when it is designed to standardise processes rather that support the employees through collective sharing, for example by taking into consideration the three elements that largely govern human behaviour: thoughts and feelings, values and beliefs and personal emotional needs. These are not acquired through a standardised process, but through collaboration and communication.

Web 2.0 technologies facilitate a two way communication between the employee and the organisation and employees and each other. This was recently demonstrated in the Awareness Report, released in late 2007. They noted some incredible results in terms of the positive external impacts of the application of web 2.0 customer relationship applications such as customer engagement was increased by 68%, brand awareness & loyalty improved by 64% and additional revenue that was generated went up by 39%.
Employees can succeed with the right skills and competencies and while most companies understand the importance of building capabilities (through training etc.), many ignore the mind-sets of their client facing employees.
If employees believe that they are the guardians of the client’s well-being, they feel confident in what they sell and in their ability to communicate. This mind-set makes it easy to have successful conversations with clients, to understand their emotional and financial needs, and to perform well during interactions. They have the positive feelings, values and individual needs; the emotional intelligence required to connect with and help clients at key moments.
Seizing the moment: How managers can help
McKinseys believe that emotional intelligence in business settings typically manifests itself through 4 intertwined characteristics:

 

  • A strong sense of self-empowerment and self-regulation, which together helps employees to make decisions right on the spot if that should be necessary;
  • A positive outlook, promoting constructive responses to the challenges of work;
  • An awareness of your own and other people’s feelings, creating empathy and facilitating better conversations with customers
  • A mastery of fear and anxiety and the ability to tap into selfless motives, which make it possible for employees to express feelings of empathy and caring

These can be intrinsic features of a human being’s personality. Even so, companies — particularly those with far-flung networks of thousands or even tens of thousands of employees — can take practical steps to encourage and enhance them using web 2.0.
Naturally companies should begin by hiring emotionally intelligent frontline employees in the first place; a business starts with an obvious advantage if it can attract people with the right emotional instincts for frontline employment.
Recruitment is only part of the story. If companies understand and act on three key “environmental” levers, they can significantly influence the front line’s emotional intelligence. Activities inspired by these levers must be mutually reinforcing and they create a workplace where excellent customer service can blossom and key moments of truth are handled deftly and successfully.

 

The levers are:

 

  • Creating meaning and clarity of purpose for client facing employees, thereby addressing their thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs and emotional needs. This could, for example, be supported by an interactive Intranet where employees are enabled to communicate with the organisation about how the organisational values translate into the way they do their work
  • Improving the capabilities of employees and influencing their mind-sets so that they acquire the right emotional skills. Once again a 2.0 enabled Intranet with an effective mentorship programme could harness the benefits of collaboration to enhance employee EQ
  • Putting structures, reward systems and processes in place to back up these changes. An Intranet that uses social media technologies to make rewards and recognition explicit to all employees would support these changes.

Get meaning into people’s work
Employees deliver exceptional customer service and perform well at critical moments if they know clearly what they are supposed to do and why. The “what” part addresses their competencies they were employed for and the “why” addresses their motivate them to work.
Efforts to help employees understand the “what” can be complex, but they are more successful when the material is presented as simply as possible. Companies should use general statements of values and principles, repeat them regularly and avoid the extensive protocols that undermine empowerment. The interactive technology offered by 2.0 enables the employees to communicate with the organisation and translate these general principles into specifics which guide their behaviour. Employees are unlikely to react spontaneously, or emotionally intelligently, if they feel the weight of a lengthy and detailed policy document, designed remotely by head office. An engaging intuitive system of communication is more likely to support emotionally intelligent responses to clients.
A range of motives drives human beings: from the purely selfish to the more creative, altruistic and personally fulfilling. Successful companies enable people to discover their motivations themselves. These companies believe that most frontline employees actually want to help customers and to gain their goodwill. Once again 2.0 technologies enable employees to discover their motivation for themselves through working closely with the organisation and collaborating with each other through two way communication.
People work hard when they are given the freedom to do the job the way they think it should be done, when they treat customers the way they like to be treated. When you take away their incentive and make their work rules based you kill their passion.
Align structures, systems, and processes
Employees respond positively if structures and systems reinforce the message. It is necessary to create rewards for behaving in certain ways and for demonstrating an ability to behave in new ways.
Companies should modify their performance-management systems to strike a balance between financial results and things that really matter at critical moments. Web 2.0 technologies provide us with the opportunity to create an employee environment that guides the right behaviours, empowers employees, enhances performance management and simplifies processes because they are based on the human aspects of networking and communication.
Simplifying frontline processes is a key priority; it gives employees time to perform more effectively at moments of truth and reinforces the vital sense of empowerment. Employees often resist change because new initiatives come on top of their existing responsibilities and overwhelm them. They won’t understand why the new initiatives are being deployed, unless the organisation engages with them on a meaningful level. Web 2.0 technologies should be designed to be intuitive, attractive to use and most of all seen as useful by employees.
Emotional intelligence may be inborn, yet companies can take concrete steps to improve the EQ of their customer facing employees. Doing so can pay off in improved interactions and more profitable relationships with customers.
Notes
1 Goleman, D. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ, NY: Bantam, 1997
2 Marc Beaujean, Vincent Cremers, and Francisco Pedro Goncalves Pereira, “How Europe’s banks can profit from loyal customers,” The McKinsey Quarterly, Web exclusive, November 2005.

About Digital Bridges

Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.

Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.

Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.

Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.

To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on katee@digitalbridges.co.za.

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Filed under Digital Communities, eMarketing, Web 2.0, Web Marketing